Limerick councillor claims pitch at city school is 'hotspot' for anti-social behaviour

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Cllr Vivienne Crowley: Pitch a 'hotspot for anti-social behaviour'

Cllr Vivienne Crowley: Pitch a 'hotspot for anti-social behaviour'

A LIMERICK school’s rugby pitch has become a regular hot-spot this summer for under-age drinking and anti-social behaviour, a councillor has said.

Fianna Fail's northside member Vivienne Crowley says groups of up to 60 youngsters are using the Villiers School rugby pitch – and local residents are struggling to get security fences erected.

The problem intensified last week with the Leaving Certificate results, she said.

“This summer the pitch is increasingly being used, sometimes on a nightly basis, by groups of up to sixty young teens for the purpose of underage drinking, taking drugs and blaring loud music from as early as 7pm until late into the night,” she said.

“The safety and well-being of minors when confronted with alcohol and drugs, particularly when in large groups like this, can never be assured.” 

As a consequence of this, Cllr Crowley said residents no longer feel safe going for a walk in the evenings, even when it’s bright “due to the size and general demeanour of the group”.

She has called on her alma mater to install security fences to keep troublemakers out – adding that another local club, Na Piarsaigh, with its four GAA pitches, never has a problem with anti-social behaviour.

“The school in question has a responsibility to secure these grounds sufficiently, but numerous requests for them to do so have gone unanswered. Additionally any view of the pitch from the road is blocked by dense foliage,” she said.

This means youngsters can come out of nowhere and cause havoc, the councillor added.

“The use of the grounds by youths makes sense,” said Cllr Crowley. “Not only is it easily accessible, but it’s dark and well secluded away from any roads which obviously makes it ideal in the eyes of teens looking to have some fun, but it poses a real danger and needs to be addressed. Unless something is done, teenagers will continue to flock there in larger numbers, until something serious happens”

Residents have even gone so far as to suggest Villiers School should surrender control of the site should they be unwilling to secure it sufficiently​.

Cllr Crowley said: “I would hope that wouldn’t be necessary and that the school will take appropriate action quickly. The Gardaí are limited in what they can do when faced with a group this large, and being minors, a slap on the wrist - even if they are caught - simply isn’t enough of a deterrent.”