Gardaí probe near riot and vandalism in two towns

DESPITE serious concerns voiced in recent weeks by a District Court Judge about anti-social behaviour in the West Waterford region and his determination to impose prison sentences if necessary to stamp it out, gardaí are investigating further major incidents in the neighbouring towns of Cappoquin and Lismore.

Garda reinforcements had to be summoned to deal with a near riotous situation in the centre of Cappoquin in the early hours of the morning, when terrified residents locked themselves in their homes. A number of arrests were made and prosecutions will follow.

One Main Street resident said a tiny minority in the town seem to think they are outside the rule of law and it is time they were made to realise this is not so.

Meanwhile, investigations are continuing into vandalism at Lismore’s picturesque Millenium Park where many thousands of euro of damage has been caused.

A garda spokesman said: “This was wanton damage and destruction at its very worst. We are appealing to members of the general public to give us all possible assistance as we try to bring the culprits to justice. As yet however, we are not following a definite line of enquiry.”

The park, the jewel in the crown of the 2004 overall Tidy Towns winner and an Entente Florale gold medal winner, has been left the worse for wear by vandals who scaled the walls in the early hours to gain entry.

A number of flagpoles were knocked over, a sundial monument was toppled from its plinth, floodlighting was smashed at the spray fountain and beneath ornamental trees, and graffiti was scrawled on some walls.

Fine Gael county councillor Declan Doocey said the community is disgusted and appalled at the incident, while his Fianna Fáil colleague Kevin Wilkinson said he will be calling for the installation of a CCTV security system at the November 14 meeting of Waterford County Council.

Town clerk Eric Flynn and said the Millenium Park is admired and appreciated not just by the thousands of visitors to it each year but also by the local community which has worked so hard to make it what it is.

The increasing vandalism in the region - specifically in Tallow, Lismore and Cappoquin - was highlighted at the most recent sitting of Cappoquin court by Judge Terence Finn when he asked what is it in the air in West Waterford that is driving people to engage in such behaviour.

He issued a “clear and stark” warning of his intention to crack down on those who continue to engage in serious assaults and anti-social behaviour, including imposing prison sentences.

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