GARDAI have identified children as young as 11 years of age who are engaging in antisocial behaviour in the Garryowen area of the city.
In an unprecedented move, the Community Policing section at Henry Street garda station, has, this week, publicly appealed to parents to take more responsibility for their children adding that their behaviour will not be tolerated.
In recent weeks, major concerns have emerged as large numbers of young people have begun gathering - particularly in the Saint Patrick’s Road and Childers Road areas – late at night.
Many of the children are openly drinking and there are concerns that some may even be taking drugs.
During one incident, last weekend around a dozen horses were ridden along St Patrick’s Road by a gang of youths to the annoyance of local residents.
“There is an issue regarding large groups of youths congregating and causing disturbance to local residents including those more vulnerable in our community,” said a garda spokesman.
He added that it appears many of the youths who are gathering in large numbers and causing problems in the area are not from the locality.
“It has been noted that the youths in question age in age from 11 years to 17 years and come from different areas of the city,” he said.
It is understood that gardai have drawn up a specific plan to target the problem.
“Anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated in this area or any other, young people causing trouble will be held accountable for their actions,” said a spokesperson for the Community Policing section at Henry Street garda station.
“When large groups congregate this often creates an impression of anti-social behaviour as noise escalates and actions can get out of control. This has caused serious concerns to residents within this area and as a result gardai are and will continue to conduct regular operations to target the anti-social behaviour,” added the spokesman.
While not condoning antisocial behaviour, Noel ‘Buster’ Hannon, who is a candidate in the upcoming local elections says he has some sympathy for the young people.
“What are they supposed to do? where are they supposed to go?, There are no amenities for them, there is nothing for them to do,” he said.
While welcoming the garda clampdown he says taking the youngster away in patrol cars will just move the problem somewhere else.
“Kids will be kids but they need things to do and places to go such as teenage discos or a community centre,” he told the Limerick Leader.
Gardai are appealing to parents to take more responsibility for their children and to know where they are, who they are with and what they are doing at all times.
Separately,children as young as 15 are involved in binge drinking on the northside of the city and terrifying local residents, it has been claimed this week.
Fianna Fail local election candidate Joe Crowley says there must now be tougher policing of the sale of alcohol to minors.
“We all know that binge drinking is a terrible scourge in modern society and sadly, even the most ‘seasoned’ drinker cannot cope with such a dramatic intake of alcohol in the shortest possible time, never mind a 15 year old,” he said.