Rathkeale residents’ fears over anti-social behaviour

Colm Ward

Reporter:

Colm Ward

Every confidence in the gardai to handle the situation: Cllr Kevin Sheahan
Residents in one area of Rathkeale are calling on the council and gardai to take action over what they claim is an upsurge in anti-social behaviour in the area in recent weeks.

Residents in one area of Rathkeale are calling on the council and gardai to take action over what they claim is an upsurge in anti-social behaviour in the area in recent weeks.

Local councillors, gardai and officials from Limerick City and County Council attended a special meeting in the council headquarters in Dooradoyle this Tuesday morning to discuss what has been described as a “very worrying” situation in the Inis Cuis area.

The meeting was told that in the past three weeks, residents have had to endure loud parties lasting into the early hours of the morning and the noise of high powered vehicles being driven around the area at dangerous speeds. Some have also be subjected to verbal abuse, it has been alleged.

“Last Saturday night, it was as bad as the M50,” one local resident told the Limerick Leader.

“It has gone from being a quiet place to one where people are afraid to go out or their homes because of the high powered jeeps and cars being driven around, sometimes by underage drivers,” he added.

He pointed out that some families had lived in the area for up to 150 years. There are about 25 houses in the cul-de-sac, including a sheltered housing development for the elderly. “We won’t be intimidated, we won’t be frightened and we will fight this situation tooth and nail,” he added.

Speaking after Tuesday’s special meeting Cllr Richard O’Donoghue stressed there was no issue with the majority of Traveller families in Rathkeale, but that those who came to the town during the Christmas period had to abide by the rule of law. “There are great people in Rathkeale from all sections of society. It is just one section of people that have arrived there and that have no connection to Rathkeale that are causing problems for the residents,” he said

“If they abide by the laws that apply to all of us as citizens, there would be no issue”.

Cllr Stephen Keary said he was “extremely concerned” for the wellbeing of local residents, particularly elderly people.

“It is most worrying and distressing for those people who have to deal with ruffians driving high powered cars up and down the avenue at high speeds,” he said.

“It is a powder keg waiting to explode,” he added.

Another councillor for the area, Kevin Sheahan, urged people to make written complaints to the gardai if they were concerned about anti-social behaviour.

“It often helps the gardai if all the people who are affected by this anti-social behaviour signed a letter and handed it in,” he said.

However, he added: “I did not and still do not see the need for calling a special meeting” and said he had “every confidence” in the local gardai to deal with the situation.

At Tuesday’s meeting, councillors were given an assurance that gardai would provide resources to deal with the issues raised.