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16/10/2021

WATCH: Housing Minister confronted by Limerick traders over anti-social behaviour

THE Housing Minister Darragh O'Brien was confronted by three traders who are based near Colbert station this lunchtime.

As he launched a new Land Development Agency public consultation on proposals for a massive urban development project around Limerick's bus and rail interchange, the TD was urged to tackle the issues currently facing business owners in this part of the city.

Among other things, they are concerned about a lack of policing and an increase in anti-social behaviour locally, since the front of Colbert station was remodelled to include stone benches.

Newsagent Mark Lennon said: "We are standing in a place which is full of winos every day of the week. We have asked everybody to clear the area, and nobody has given us any help."

"If I have any problems over here, and I ring the police, it will take a minimum of three hours for a guard to come to my shop. That's happening on a regular basis. Their hands are tied on everything," he said.

Pharmacy owner Billy Lane told reporters after: "It's all very well saying things will happen in five or 10 years time, but every day here, there are pitched battles here. Last week, there were three or four squad cars."

Mr Lennon added: "There is constant anti-social behaviour. There is fighting, there is drinking on the street. Nobody will come down to move these people along. They spent millions on this area. It's fabulous and everyone thinks it is. But it is full of street-drinkers every day of the week."

The newsagent, who is 40 years trading in the area, said the Colbert Land Development Plan is "brilliant".

"But this has to be cleaned up first. We cannot have young families being housed here when this is going on here. The children of these families will see what's going on and will want to do the same thing. It's not fair on young children and young families," he added.

Mr O'Brien met the traders in private after a brief tour of the Colbert station area.

He also pledged to raise the issues with Chief Superintendent Gerard Roche, who he met earlier.

"I'm not going anywhere. I've seen the vast potential of this place. You guys are from here," he added.

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