MANY residents of certain Newmarket housing estates have had to start taking psychiatric medication to deal with the stress being caused by the anti social behaviour of their neighbours.
Some of them met with The Clare Champion last week, but none were prepared to be named, so concerned were they about the threat of a backlash from the problematic neighbours. They also requested that their estates not be named either.
One man said that hundreds of complaints have been made to Clare County Council about the problems, which have emerged over the last year.
“Residents are so concerned that they contacted the CEO of Clare County Council recently, just to make him aware of the ongoing issues. Anti social behaviour, drugs, that kind of thing, and he has been asked to intervene to sort these issues. It’s a huge concern for the majority of the residents in the estates,” he said.
However, he said nothing has been done to help and some pressure needs to be put on the local authority.
“We want to highlight the ongoing issues. The residents feel the Council aren’t taking their complaints seriously and they’re not being investigated properly,” he said.
Asked what form the anti social behaviour takes place, one female resident said: “It’s intimidation, it’s noise pollution, coming into people’s gardens, taking things from people’s gardens, urinating in them. The amount of children and adults that are turning up in these estates.”
Another male resident said that incidents of cruelty to animals have also taken place.
“A number of tenants live in these properties and their extended families move in and bring in more people on a daily basis,” he said.
“They’d be involved in criminal damage to people’s cars, kicking footballs off them.
“There’d be cruelty to animals, a kitten was killed and that was reported to the guards and Clare County Council. Cruelty to a dog has also been reported,” he said.
There have also been several reports of residents being threatened. A woman living in one of the estates said it has taken a serious toll on her mental health.
“Anxiety, panic attacks… When you’re at work and you think you’ve got to go back home, that’s when it starts,” she said.
“You should feel comfortable and safe in your own home. But this… People go out to their daily lives and come home wondering what’s going to happen next, who’s going to be there. I’m more comfortable not being at home. “It’s not a way to live, you should be able to go in and out your front door, feel safe, not intimidated, not anxious, not scared.”
One male resident said that some of his neighbours won’t go outside after six o’clock. Other families pick up their children from school and bring them away from their house until close to bedtime, so uncomfortable are they at home.
“A considerable number of tenants have handed in medical records in support of how it’s affecting them, it’s all on record,” he said.
“A lot of them have contacted the Council asking to be put on a transfer list. They want to be moved because it’s affecting their family life, it’s affecting their children, it’s affecting their work life, they’re living in fear,” he said.
“I met a woman yesterday and she said, if she’d known what was going to be allowed to happen, she’d rather have stayed homeless, the effect has been so severe on her and her two children.
“She thought she was getting a forever home, instead she was getting a nightmare and now she’s on prescription medication.”
He feels the Clare County Council are not taking the type of action that the law abiding residents deserve.
“The Council have a duty of care to tenants, they’re landlords to the majority of tenants that have to live with this and they’re failing in their duty of care to the tenants,” he said.
“They’re not acknowledging tenants’ complaints and breaching their tenancy agreements by allowing certain families and individuals to carry on with anti-social behaviour daily.”
A female resident questioned if background checks had been carried out on people before they were installed, while she also blasted the response of Clare County Council to the complaints raised by locals.
“Complaints are going into the Council and there are times when they’re acknowledged and times when they’re not. They’re ignoring people now.”
Owen Ryan has been a journalist with the Clare Champion since 2007, having previously worked for a number of other regional titles in Limerick, Galway and Cork.