Fine Gael councillor Maria Doyle
Locals who are experiencing issues in relation to anti-social behaviour are caught “between two stools” when it comes to reporting problems, councillor Maria Doyle says.
Speaking at last week’s Dundalk Municipal District meeting, the Fine Gael councillor said there was a real frustration among people who suffer from instances of such behaviour. Local representatives also heard intimidation is an issue in dealing with some cases.
“I feel I have been getting quite a lot of representations in relation to anti-social behaviour,” she said. “I do definitely feel there is a level of frustration among people subjected to anti-social behaviour that they feel between two stools of the Gardai and the county council.
“The council advise to contact Gardai and the Gardai advise to contact the local council. People just give up because they get frustrated,” Doyle (pictured, above) added.
“People who complain about anti-social behaviour may not always be privy to what action is taken. I’d love to see better communication to improve the situation for everyone”.
So far this year, there have been eight completed investigations into instances of anti-social behaviour in the Dundalk area by Louth County Council. Two verbal warnings have been issued but on five occasions, no further action was taken.
“We do act on any reports. It is confidential between us and the tenant,” Aoife Lawler, Senior Executive Officer, replied. “A lot of it is very informal. We get a large number of referrals from Gardai to inform us.”
Councillor John McGahon believes that the local authority should look at the practice of wiping an offender’s slate clean after 12 months. “I feel so sorry for them at times. There’s very little we can do,” he said.
“There is a large amount of intimidation involved. If a complaint is made, all you need is an aggressive person.
“That certainly puts people off making a complaint in the future.” A total of 27 anti-social behaviour cases have been taken to the council this year.