URINATING and defecating on the streets of Westport is not an image that locals or visitors would associate with the heritage haven and tourism town. But for one local shopkeeper this has been her experience as she reveals to The Mayo News her premises on the main street was vandalised twice over the Christmas period.
Linda Newman, the owner of quirky bric-a-brac and craft shop, Leaping Lizard, on Bridge Street, is now calling on the Garda Síochána to expedite the installation of a CCTV system for the town, since it attracts thousands of visitors each year.
“Earlier this month I heard there was a marauding gang in the town who were not allowed in to a local nightclub. As I went into the shop the following day I wondered whether there had been any damage done and there I found the glass door smashed. Just before Christmas the window was damaged also. It it really expensive to replace safety glass and such behaviour is really not good enough for our lovely little town, ” Linda Newman said yesterday.
Ms Newman also said that late night revellers regularly urinate against her shop façade and that while she ran a property business in Market Lane, some years ago, she had been faced with faeces on her doorstep.
One champion of the CCTV campaign is Cathaoirleach of Westport Town Council and retired detective garda, Christy Hyland. At the recent town council budget meeting he urged that a substantial sum be put aside towards the installation of such a system.
“Westport is one of the busiest tourism towns in the country and yet it does not have a CCTV system. It is crazy when the small town of Balinrobe has a system and Westport doesn’t. Westport has attained such high standards in so many areas, it is time the town had an effective CCTV system. It would also provide great relief for the parents of teenagers and young adults when they are out at night,” Cllr Hyland said.
He said a special sub-committee meeting of the Joint Policing Committee, further helped to progress the drive for a CCTV system.
Inspector Joe McKenna told The Mayo News the members were given a presentation on the Ballinrobe system – which is comprised of 22 cameras at a cost of €44,000. Committee members will travel to Balinrobe in the coming week to view the system and its effectiveness.
“I welcome the news that the town council has made a commitment towards the funding of the system which will significantly help towards its implementation,” Insp McKenna said.
He also confirmed that two men had been recorded kicking in doors in Westport in the early hours of Monday, January 9, and that gardaí were following a definite line of inquiry about the matter.