Council invites public input on anti-social behaviour policy document

DUNGARVAN Town Council has prepared a draft anti-social behaviour policy document that will go on display for submissions from members of the public.

But there are concerns about getting people to testify in court in support of anti-social behaviour order applications.

Cllr Nuala Ryan has told the council that she cannot see a lot of people coming forward to make complaints about the behaviour of neighbours because of the threat of reprisals.

She said: “I know of one instance where an individual who gave evidence in court ended up being very badly beaten.”

Cllr Teresa Wright said many people feel so intimidated they are petrified to make an official complaint.

Town clerk Joe O’Flaherty said the objective of the draft document is to reduce and if possible eliminate anti-social behaviour occurring within the urban area.

Mr O’Flaherty said the document identifies “anti-social behaviour” as the involvement in the supply or sale of drugs and behaviour likely to cause any significant or persistent danger, injury, damage, loss or fear to any persons living in local authority houses.

It pledges that all complaints of anti-social behaviour will be investigated in a fair, impartial and objective manner and the council will vigorously apply the legislation in all serious cases. Complaints will be kept under review, complainants will be revisited, and the local authority will maintain constant liaison with the gardaí, health board officials, and residents association, and will also maintain a register of all anti-social behaviour complaints.

Mr O’Flaherty said the council has had to issue notices to quit in the past and several local authority-owned houses have also been repossessed.

“We have had a number of flash points over the years and while situations have improved in some instances they have not in others.”

Cllr Damien Geoghegan said they should put the draft document on public display and invite submissions. They must let the people know just how serious they are in dealing with anti social behaviour.

Cllr Billy Kyne, however, said he would like a more “user friendly”’ document, and asked if those making complaints are guaranteed anonymity.

Mr O’Flaherty said every possible effort would be made to do so as the officials fully realised the danger of intimidation.

Cllr Ryan said that without guaranteed anonymity very few people will be prepared to give court evidence.

The document will now be on public display with an invitation of submissions which will then be considered by the council before a final decision on it is made.

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