A DECADE after he first set up home in the Sharwood Estate, Newcastle West, Christopher McCarthy has had enough. Now, he only wants to sell up and leave.
He has, finally, reached this decision, after vandals destroyed the front of his home, throwing paint on the front door, window, walls and yard. The incident happened shortly before 2am last Friday morning and has left Christopher, who is 67, devastated.
Describing the incident, Mr McCarthy told the Limerick Leader that a gang of three men, a girl and a youth was involved. “They brought the paint in soft plastic yoghurt bottles,” Mr McCarthy said. He was in bed but not asleep at the time, he explained, and the paint was first thrown at the sitting room window, then at the door, Mr McCarthy called the Gardai and,fortunately for him, the incident was caught on the CCTV system he had installed some years ago.
In 2012, Mr McCarthy wrote to the gardai, detailing intimidation and other incidents going back over seven years. These included a broken window and a broken meter box, grafitti and paint on his front wall and stones and eggs thrown at the house. He also had rubbish thrown in his front yard, he told the gardai and he said his two cats had been killed when dogs were set on them.
“After that, it seemed to get quieter. I was able to live here,” Mr McCarthy said this week.
But the paint incident has re-ignited his desire to go because of the anti-social behaviour on the estate.
He has asked Limerick City and County Council to buy back the house he bought ten years ago. But, Mr McCarthy explained, there are already three empty houses in the estate and the council told him they were not interested in buying his.
Mr McCarthy is originally from Milford, Co Cork and entered the Franciscan Order as a young man. He spent 16 years in the order before leaving and worked for some years in England before returning to care for his mother. He moved to Newcastle West ten years ago.
A spokesman for the gardai in Newcastle West said they are actively investigating the incident.
A spokesman for Limerick City and County Council said the council is actively engaging with Sharwood Estate residents. “The Council encourages anybody with concerns regarding anti social behaviour in the Estate to report same to An Garda Síochána and to the Council,” he stated.
In 2012, the Limerick Leader highlighted efforts being made by residents in Sharwood Estate to clean up the estate and to redress the estate’s poor reputation.
This came on top of previous efforts by the Residents Association to forge a new identity for the estate including organising fun days.