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‘Neighbours from hell’ using doorsteps for toilets, driving dangerously and partying all night

Sean O’Riordan

Neighbours from hell are using fellow tenants’ doorsteps and children’s playgrounds as toilets, waking people with all-night parties, and driving dangerously in council estates.

Cork county councillors are demanding more be done to combat the scourge of anti-social behaviour in their estates.

The issue was raised by Social Democrats councillor June Murphy, who requested that the local authority form a specialised sub-committee, interlinked with relevant departments and outside bodies to deal with serious or ongoing antisocial behaviour in council estates.

[quote]There are some incidents where they’re going to the toilet in playgrounds and on people’s front doorsteps. Others [their friends] are coming into estates who don’t live there and are abusing people, lying down on the road and stopping traffic, said Ms Murphy.[/quote]

“They’re having parties all night. One individual drove at 80mph backwards. That person has caused nothing but trouble since they arrived there.”

She said she knows of many decent tenants who are trying to get on the housing transfer list, just to get away from them.

“We need to get these issues resolved. There needs to be a committee, where serious incidents can be dealt with,” she said.

“Right now, there’s no resolution. There are issues going on for four years.”

Sinn Féin councillor Melissa Mullane agreed, pointing out that, a couple of years ago, she was informed by council officials that a number of tenants in the North Cork area were transferred to different housing estates to get away from anti-social behaviour, but the culprits were left in situ.

Sinn Féin councillor Melissa Mullane.

“Doing that is not resolving the issue,” said Ms Mullane. “The problem is that we don’t have enough staff. We need to put additional funding and resources into this, to deal with it.”

Her party colleague, Des O’Grady, said he has come across similar problems, where neighbours from hell disrupted whole estates. He said that in the council’s southern division, two experienced estate management officers have retired and only one of the vacancies has been filled, which he described as a “very backward step”.

“There are a lack of resources in regards to estate management,” said Fianna Fáil’s Seamus McGrath.

[quote]There needs to be a root-and-branch review of it. I’m sorry to say, we haven’t supplied the level of resources we need.[/quote]

Sinn Féin councillor Rachel McCarthy said there is “strong merit” in putting together a specialised committee which would include council officials, the gardaí, and the child protection agency, Tusla.

Independent councillor Danny Collins suggested councillors should have meetings at divisional level at least twice a year to specifically discuss these issues with senior gardaí.

Councillors also said there should be an increase in funding allocated to housing estate management teams.

“There is very little progress being made on antisocial problems on some of our estates,” said Ms Murphy. “I have, in the past, arranged meetings between council officials and the gardaí on these issues and they have resulted in nothing.”

After lengthy debate, it was agreed that Ms Murphy’s suggestions would be discussed at the council’s housing special purposes committee.

This story first appeared in the Irish Examiner.