Calls For CCTV and Fencing In Glanmire To Tackle Antisocial behaviour

By Seamus Whelehan

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Residents living close to John O’Callaghan Park in Glanmire say they are constantly living in fear as gangs of youth spend every evening drinking in the park, burning bins and vandalising the play area.
A delegation of concerned residents along with representatives from Glanmire Gardaí attended Tuesday’s sitting of the Cobh / Glanmire Municipal District, to try and reach a workable solution to the antisocial behaviour.
There is at present a population of 2,500 teenager in Glanmire with a population of 17,000.
Up to 250 teenagers as young as 13 and 14 converge on the park at weekends.
Gardaí have been called to the area dozens of times but are unable to do anything as many are under age.
They say they are unable to deal with the upsurge of antisocial behaviour by gangs of youth, as many are under 17.
Garda Noel Fitzgerald told the sitting “there are drugs every day of the week there and antisocial behaviour. We have arrested several juveniles and brought them home. They are coming on buses out from Mahon and Mayfield. I have heard even stories of asking bus drivers where’s John O’Callaghan park, drop us off at the nearest bus stop to John O’Callaghan Park.
They are coming with nap sacks of alcohol on the busses they are not buying the drink locally anymore.”
Garda Fitzgerald warned the sitting “there could be a serious loss of life some night before [the antisocial behaviour] stops. Every time we go in their when, we come back out the wing mirrors are kicked off our squad cars.”
“Last Friday night the fire brigade were called out and they were stoned. It’s even too dangerous for Gardaí to walk in around the park at night” he said.
Antisocial behaviour has been escalating the area since 2002 when there was a report of a serious assault.
In August 2016 Gardaí made an arrest in the park, where they found 20 deals of heroin on the suspect, who eventually got 3 years in jail for the offence.
A number of residents at Tuesday’s meeting described life living in the shadow of the park.
One resident said it is a dangerous place for young kids after a weekend, “you could find anything, syringes, used condoms, bras, I could go on” they said.
Another stated “once it gets to twilight it starts at 6:30pm and in the summer from 10:00pm”
“My bins have been taken twice I am actually afraid to be in the house I’m living on my own, at Halloween it was actually horrific, I was actually afraid to come down stairs.”
Municipality Chairman Padraig O’Sullivan said “other larger towns seem to avail of CCTV cameras one way or the other I think it’s something we need to explorer.”
Municipal Executive Paraig Lynch said both Macroom and Midleton town councils had set funds aside before they were disbanded in 2014. However he would liaise with the Gardaí discuss the possibility of linking cameras into the Garda CCTV bank in Angelsea Street.
The local authority say they will increase the lighting of the park next month.
Area Engineer Ger O’Hora committed to upgrade the lighting at the public entrance into the park and install a further 4 lights on the pathway towards the children’s playground.
He also stated he would consider funding fencing at one section of the park although this would be dependent on available funding.

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