ANTI-SOCIAL behaviour at public amenities in Kilrush has prompted a local councillor to call for more proactive policing in the area, as well as greater supports for young people.
At the recent meeting of the Joint Policing Committee (JPC), Councillor Ian Lynch said it was time that the body stepped up its efforts in highlighting anti-social behaviour and in proposing effective solutions.
He cited, in particular, the need for an update on strategies proposed to-date by the JPC, including the creation of a multi-agency taskforce to tackle drugs and related crimes.
Councillor Lynch outlined how public amenities in Kilrush are now the site of concerning levels of illicit and anti-social activities.
“We know very well the benefits of public, outdoor amenities like the Coillte-owned Vandaleur estate and woodland,” he said.
“While they are being used regularly by more and more people, there has also been an increase in thefts from vehicles. People are coming along at 3pm in the day, in broad daylight and breaking car windows.
“Over at the picnic benches, there are repeated incidents and parties happening at all hours. In the morning, the place is littered with glass and broken bottles. This has become a real issue in Kilrush and we need more visible policing.”
The West Clare man proposed that the committee play a more active role in diverting young people away from crime and anti-social behaviour.
“I think it’s time, at this stage, that the JPC took a greater lead in looking at what’s going on,” he said.
“We must have alternative services for children and youth so that they don’t fall into a lifestyle of drug use and anti-social behaviour. This JPC should be actively supporting every application for funding. We really need to make sure that we are getting the maximum impact from this JPC. We had a JPC for Kilrush but that’s changed and the forum doesn’t allow for that anymore. What we do need is to see the outputs from this county-wide JPC and to make sure that we are proactive and that all of the measures we agree are actually getting us somewhere.”
Councillor Lynch noted that efforts had been made previously by the JPC to co-ordinate the organisations responsible for addressing drug-related crime.
“We previously tabled a motion at this JPC calling for a multi-agency taskforce on drugs to be set up,” the Independent councillor said. “That was adopted with the group to meet in Ennis. To-date, we have never had a briefing at the JPC on that taskforce and I’m asking that we have one, because we need to see that measures we proposed are actually getting somewhere.”
Responding to Councillor Lynch’s concerns, Chief Superintendent Seán Colleran said he would be supportive of having an output document from JPC meetings, so that members could track the issues they had raised.
“There is a huge value in that,” he said. He added that Superintendent John Galvin would take the request for more patrols in Kilrush on board.
Clare County Council Director of Services Leonard Cleary undertook to arrange an update from the multi-agency taskforce. “The taskforce is made up of the Gardaí, Clare County Council, the regional drug and alcohol taskforce as well as relevant voluntary organisations and advocacy groups and it’s chaired by Superintendent John Galvin,” he outlined.
“We have achieved a very good level of inter-agency cooperation and have had several successes including the recruitment of a person to help and work with those who wish to divert away from drug use.”
Fiona McGarry joined The Clare Champion as a reporter after a four-year stint as producer of Morning Focus on Clare FM. Prior to that she worked for various radio, print and online titles, including Newstalk, Maximum Media and The Tuam Herald.
Fiona’s media career began in her native Mayo when she joined Midwest Radio. She is the maker of a number of radio documentaries, funded by the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI). She has also availed of the Simon Cumbers Media Fund to report on development issues supported by Irish Aid in Haiti.
She won a Justice Media Award for a short radio series on the work of Bedford Row Project, which supports prisoners and families in the Mid-West. Fiona also teaches on the Journalism programmes at The University of Galway.
If you have a story and would like to get in touch with Fiona you can email her at [email protected] or telephone 065 6864146.