Anti-social behaviour plan pending but councillor wants immediate action
and Anton McNulty
THE failure of Mayo County Council to tackle the problem of anti-social behaviour in some of their estates is turning the lives of some of their tenants into ‘a living hell’, according to a Castlebar town councillor.
Councillor Michael Kilcoyne told The Mayo News that evidence offered at last week’s sitting of Castlebar District Court showed that the council knew anti-social behaviour problems existed in the Hollow Grove estate in Castlebar for as long as five years and failed to take any action against the offending tenants.
Mr Brian McDonagh of 32 Hollow Grove, Castlebar. Mr McDonagh was before the court on charges of threatening and abusive behaviour towards his neighbours Teresa Tropman and Ann McGrath.
Ms Tropman said that the family of Mr McDonagh had been ‘terrorising her family’ for the last five years. She said she had applied to the council to be re-housed but that was told that her family would not be re-housed because it would be impossible to get another family to move in beside the McDonaghs.
“It seems from this woman’s evidence that she and her family have been living in hell for the last five years and worse still it seems their cries for help to the council were ignored. These women probably felt they had to go before a judge and give evidence in open court to have their problems dealt with when all the council had to do was to evict trouble makers, which they are perfectly entitled to do under the Housing Act,” stated Cllr Michael Kilcoyne.
The problems of anti-social behaviour in estates across the county is it seems about to be tackled by Mayo County Council with a new anti-social behaviour procedure plan but Cllr Kilcoyne stated the reason this matter has not been dealt with already is because the people suffering are often subjected to intimidation and are afraid to speak out.
“There has been examples of people being afraid to give evidence so I believe now is the time to take firm action otherwise I believe incidents like what happened in some of Limerick estates could be spread to other areas,” added Cllr Kilcoyne.
A new anti-social behaviour procedure has been drafted to help Mayo County Council and the three local Town Council authorities to deal with incidents of anti-social behaviour in local authority housing estates.
It is believed the local authorities hope to establish a clear and impartial system of prevention, investigation and intervention to combat the incidents of anti-social behaviour. The draft report will go before the November Council meeting for ratification.
Mr Peter Hynes, Director of Services with Mayo County Council said the incidents of anti-social behaviour was being carried out by the minority and the idea of the plan was to put in place a standard set procedure for the local authorities to follow.
“We are trying to set up a process which will be seen to be fair but at the same time will leave us in a position where we cannot resolve disputes and difficulties by discussion we will be in a position to carry through in the legal position.
“We will have input from the other agencies such as the Department of Social Welfare and the HSE. We will try and help with problem cases because anti-social behaviour is sometimes a symptom of other problems and we will deal with that as well. It is not just about going to court and being in a position to look for the ultimate sanction,” he explained.