Public meetings hear of "fear" amongst local communities

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Public meetings hear of "fear" amongst local communities thumbnailAddressing this week's public meeting in Coolderry, organised to take a stand against rural crime, is Chairperson of the Aghancon Community Alert group, Joe Parlon, pictured along with the meeting's top table. MT46460KOG

LOCALS vented their fear and frustration at two packed public meetings on Monday night as concern escalated amongst communities over rural crime in Coolderry and anti social behaviour in Banagher.
Organised by several local community alert groups, people turned out in their droves in Coolderry on Monday night last, firstly to show their solidarity for local man Richie McKelvey after the 54 year old was subjected to a horrific attack ten days ago. The meeting also provided an opportunity to highlight the palpable fear in the locality since the attack and to discuss what actions the community could take to elevate people's concerns.
Along with concerns about local Garda resources and policing levels, the Tribune heard calls for community CCTV to be installed, tighter and tougher bail laws and concerns over how some felt "career criminals" were abusing the free legal aid system. While, others expressed concerns over changing bank practices which meant older people were reluctant to deposit cash. Victims of burglaries spoke about their personal experiences, others mentioned homes being "marked" by perpetrators while other locals outlined how "fearful" they were in the wake of the terrifying attack on Richie McKelvey.
Looking to Banagher, it was local man Karl Bond, who called Monday night's meeting after he had a couple of nasty run-ins with several youths in the town. Expecting only twenty or thirty people to attend, he was overwhelmed when over 250 people packed out the community centre. According to Karl, the purpose of the meeting was to allow people to air their grievances, to set up a text alert system and to form a committee. Mr Bond said the turn out was also a strong sign of how worried people were about the issue of anti social behaviour in Banagher and in rural Ireland in general.
At the meeting, the Tribune heard concerns about burglaries in the area, how some felt the law was too lenient on criminals while others were left feeling "terrified" by recent anti social behaviour in the town. However, some cautioned speaking too negatively about Banagher as it was a "fine town" while local Gardai pointed out there were a number of people before the courts in connection with crimes committed in the area.
Meanwhile, read more about the Coolderry meeting inside on pages 4 and the Banagher meeting on page 10.


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