A piano, which had been in a family for generations, was dragged onto the street and burned in a Drogheda housing estate, in a grim picture painted by local TD Fergus O’Dowd on what he described as an “appalling situation” in some communities in the town.
The Deputy made his comments in Dáil Éireann on Wednesday evening in which he again urged Minister for Justice Helen McEntee to introduce a ‘north inner city-type’ taskforce for the town.
The TD reserved praise for the work done by An Garda Siochana in Drogheda, especially the expansion of the Community Gardai team in the area, but said residents in some areas were still living in fear at night with rampant criminality ongoing.
Referring to the incident which occurred in Beechwood Drive in the Rathmullan area on the southside of the town last weekend, he said: “The Garda is doing a fantastic job in Drogheda. The addition of 30 Gardaí, which were deployed to the town last year as a result of this appalling crime wave and drug-heavy crime, is working extremely well.
“That does not mean, however, that the Gardaí control the streets at night. People are ringing me at 10 p.m. to say that the house next door, where residents may have been absent for a week or so, has been broken into and the residents’ belongings strewn on the streets.”
The resident of the property in question is believed to have fled the property in light of the ongoing attacks.
He continued: “A piano, which was passed down from generation to generation in one family, was dragged on to the street and burned. That is a symbol of an appalling situation in some of our communities today.”
Deputy O’Dowd said such thugs could not be allowed to control the lives of law abiding citizens. He reiterated previous calls for the estbalishment of a taskforce for Drogheda and was hopeful that Mr Vivian Guerin, appointed by Minister Helen McEntee to compile a scoping report into issues in the town, would recommend such a move.
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“At 10 p.m. the other night, I received a call from a woman telling me the house next door was being broken into and the windows were being smashed. The poor unfortunate person inside that house was unable to deal with the situation and was being intimidated and driven to despair, as were his neighbours, by what was going on. I hate getting such calls.
“When darkness falls and evil comes out, it must be driven back by communities living in estates that are properly lit, have proper footpaths and amenities and receive the support of society that they do not currently have. That is why I hope the work of Vivian Geiran will lead to significant change and successes.
“Drogheda needs a north inner city type task force. What Mr. Geiran is doing is a start but we must reach out to those who commit these crimes. When we identify them and the needs of their families when they are very young, we should ensure there is proper outreach to them.
While the Minister offered no exact date for when Mr Guerin’s report would be published, it is expected that he will conclude his exercise in the coming weeks and a report will be published before Christmas.