Gardaí are to take a robust approach to tackling violence in a south Kerry town after a judge described it as “untamed territory”.
“Whatever is going on in Caherciveen?” asked Judge James O’Connor.
At the district court’s monthly sitting, there were up to a dozen cases of serious assaults for either review or for a second mention.
Judge O’Connor has twice stated “there is something wrong and the area is unlike any other in Kerry”.
Late-night violence has led to people being kicked on the ground and suffering broken noses and jawbones.
Video evidence of a violence assault, uploaded on social media, was played before the district court in November.
“There’s too much of this in Caherciveen,” the judge observed.
“You never or hardly at all find it in Kenmare, Killorglin, Killarney, Glenbeigh… whatever is going on in Caherciveen?
“The thing about Caherciveen is that we seem to be handling more Section 3 assaults than we are handling in Killarney, a much bigger town,” Judge O’Connor said.
However, in response to the judge’s concerns, local gardaí are determined to clamp down on drink-fuelled late night incidents.
Sgt Eoin O’Donovan has warned gardaí will take a robust approach in order to tackle the phenomenon during the festive season.
“We are running a campaign aimed at young fellows thinking with their heads, not their feet,” he said.
He asserted there would be “zero tolerance” for assaults and public order offences in the town.
In many of the late-night assaults, a pattern emerged. A punch knocks someone to the ground and they are then kicked, on the ground, in the head and body by one or more offenders.
But, in the clear light of a district court, many of the young men, who are unemployed, have to move away from the area to seek work to pay compensation for the injuries inflicted.
Locally, people are concerned that the birthplace of ‘The Liberator’ Daniel O’Connell is now one of Kerry’s smaller towns, as it continues to bleed population and opportunity.
Practically all of the area’s traditional employment opportunities have gone in the past 40 years, from the railway to fishing, to sock factories, the turf industry and its ESB power station, while nearby towns such as Killorglin increase in size and population.
More often than not, internet coverage is weak in a town that led the world in 19th-century technology.
School numbers have dropped drastically, with a secondary school serving Caherciveen and Waterville experiencing a reported 30% drop in students.
Rival football clubs and parishes merge to keep the show on the road as the young people leave.
However, off the field, the number of assaults among young men is at a record high.
Locals say old town and parish rivalries whose origins are long forgotten by many are still being played out in late-night drink- related incidents.
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