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Police forum tackles concerns of Liberties locals

Amy Lewis

Illegal dumping, anti-social behaviour and vacant spaces were the main issues raised at the South West Inner City Local Policing Forum.

The aim of these public meetings is to invite members of the community to discuss any concerns with Gardaí and the Dublin City Council. The most recent meeting took place in the Mendicity Institution on Island Street on September 25.

The first matter to be addressed was the issue of illegal dumping.  Oliver Bond Street, Eugene Street and Bonham Street were highlighted as ‘dumping black spots’.  Residents raised concerns about the build-up of waste and questioned the Council about a solution to the problem.

“We are fighting a losing battle regarding this issue,” said Seán Moloney, Assistant Area Manager for the Dublin City Council. He said that, while the Council clean up a large proportion of the waste, a “balance needs to be achieved” as otherwise, they are ultimately providing a free waste collection service for offenders.  He also stressed the difficulties of prosecution as it requires evidence of dumping.

Anti-social behaviour on Eugene Street was an issue that concerned many attendees.  This on-going problem, regards the behaviour of tenants in three privately rented homes.  Residents reported fires, dumping, intimidation and the use of drugs on the street, with several claiming to fear going outside of their homes as a result.

Mr. Moloney responded to concerns by saying that the Council and the Gardaí can’t take legal action against private tenants. However, Garda Inspector Karen Barker told residents that although their “hands are tied”, the issue is not being ignored.

“We have a Garda presence up there”, said Inspector Barker “We are relying on the landlords to work with us.  At the moment, one of the tenants is in custody and we are in discussions with the landlords regarding the issue.”

A plot of vacant land next to the Mendicity Institution was discussed due to concerns that it has become a hub for drug taking, arson and anti-social behaviour.

Plans to use it for social housing or as a community garden have been put on hold according to Mr. Moloney who believes that “the site will be vacant for many years to come”.

Other matters such as burglary, hygiene issues in local apartment blocks and the number of support centres in the vicinity were also raised.  All matters will be readdressed at the next forum meeting in November.

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