Residents of an estate blighted by antisocial behaviour disrupted a meeting in Cork’s City Hall yesterday when they were refused permission to address senior gardaí.
Lord Mayor Chris O’Leary had to suspend a meeting of the city’s joint policing committee (JPC) when three women from Mayfield’s Lagan Grove — where a Polish family has been forced out of their home and where three homes have been attacked in recent weeks — insisted on trying to raise questions despite repeated requests to sit down.
Mr O’Leary said the JPC was not a public forum but that members would meet the residents afterwards. But they persisted, forcing the mayor to suspend the meeting until calm was restored.
Lagan Grove resident, Catherine Coffey-O’Brien, whose home was stoned recently after she spoke out publicly on anti-social behaviour, said she was “disgusted” that they were not allowed to raise concerns at the JPC.
She also said the Garda crime figures presented to the JPC do not present an accurate picture.
“We’ve had numerous incidents in Mayfield that haven’t been reported because people have been intimidated,” she said.
“Before it was sporadic, but now every week something is going on, and it shows to me that there is social breakdown up there.
“There is a cluster of people who have no respect for the law or their communities. I’m afraid nothing will happen until someone is murdered.”
Workers’ Party councillor Ted Tynan dismissed the disruption as nothing more than “raised voices” and said the focus should be on tackling the minority responsible for terrorising Lagan Grove.
“There is a culture evolving in Lagan Grove where certain individuals are saying ‘we are in charge around here’,” he said.
“There is going to be a serious incident. There is now talk of vigilante activity and we certainly don’t want people taking the law into their own hands.”
Supt Mick Comyns said he has had numerous meetings with residents and councillors and accepts that people are afraid to report certain incidents.
All I can do is encourage people to report it,” he said.
“We are working with residents’ committees, city council, and politicians to resolve the issues. I can reassure people we will deal with it if they come to us.”
The row came hours before the JPC’s new six-year strategy was launched.
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