Around 50 residents held a protest outside a house in a small North Cork village yesterday which is being leased by Daffodil Care Services Ltd, which works on behalf the child and family agency Tusla.
Shanballymore Concerned Residents’ Group (SCRG) say the house, which is 1.4km from the village, is just a few hundred metres from the busy and dangerous N73 Mallow/Mitchelstown road.
Furthermore, they say that adjoining fields are home to farms that contain potentially dangerous animals such as bulls and horses.
“There are no facilities or amenities for young people in the area; the village does not even have a shop. There is not even a footpath outside the house,” SCRG spokesman Billy Gallagher said.
Those who protested are also concerned about the security implications if one of the teenagers causes trouble.
Mr Gallagher said the nearest garda station is in Kildorrery, but is only open on a part-time basis.
It’s likely that gardaí would have to come to the scene from 24-hour stations at Mitchelstown and Fermoy, which are respectively 18km and 19km away.
Thomas O’Flynn, who owns the next door farm, said he was concerned teenagers might wander into a potentiallly dangerous situation.
“I’ve a suckler herd of cows and two Limousin bulls, aged four and eight. I’ve been chased by cows after calving. They can be very dangerous. A man was killed by one in the village of Araglin last year,” Mr O’Flynn said.
“I’ve never had a problem with the bulls, but they can turn on you at anytime.”
There’s nothing for the teenagers to do in Shanballymore unless they play GAA,” Mr O’Flynn added.
Mr Gallagher said SCRG was considering all its options “including the possibility of legal action.”
None of the teenagers have moved into the house yet.
Cllr Frank O’Flynn, who attended the protest, said Daffodil Care Services Ltd was exempt from getting planning permission to turn a residential property into a care home.
“The trouble with that is that the locals only found out by accident that this was happening. There should have been public consultation first on the matter,” Cllr O’Flynn said.
Carlos Kelly, a director of Daffodil Care Service Ltd, attended a recent meeting at Shanballymore Community Centre where he was asked a series of questions by SCRG members.
Some of the questions focused on unruly incidents which had occurred at other residences which house troubled teenagers.
In a statement sent to the Irish Examiner, Mr Kelly said as he noted at the end of the meeting in the community centre he is “happy to discuss and address any specific issues that our neighbours may have”.