Fine parents for children’s misbehaviour – Gilligan

PARENTS have the primary responsibility for their children, was the message from Cllr John Gilligan to a recent meeting of the Limerick City Joint Policing Committee.

The meeting in City Hall heard Superintendent Frank O’Brien outline details of programmes in place to divert youngsters aged between 12 and 14 away from criminal behaviour.

However, Cllr Gilligan said, it is parents who have responsibility to look after their children.

“Parents should be fined if they do not look after their children, and if the money were to come out of their own pockets this would go a huge way in stopping them allow their children to misbehave – if we could do this it would make a huge difference to changing the culture .

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

“It is also pointless to send youngsters convicted of drug offences to join the same kind of offenders – they should be sent to a rehabilitation centre where there would be an ongoing monitoring service – this would be cost effective”.

Diverting youths aged between 12 and 14 away from criminal behaviour involves working closely with Limerick’s youth services, Supt O’Brien said.

“We have a number of programmes in operation – the programme in Moyross was set up in 1994 – there are now 100 such youth diversion programmes established nationally. In Limerick, we have them in Ballynanty Beg, Thomondgate, Moyross, Knockalisheen Road. There is indoor soccer, pool, a motor track outside, etc, all to engage youths in a productive and enjoyable way.

“In Watergate, in the old Garda station in John Street, we have a programme going on and another in St Mary’s Park, which had been in the community centre there, but is now located in Nicholas Street

‘There may be substance or alcohol abuse involved so we work closely with the youth services in the city and have a management committee, comprised of educationalists, local people, the youth and welfare services, as well as the gardai”.

Supt O’Brien reported that €570,000 is allocated to the projects.

Acknowledging the positive role these programmes play, Deputy Jan O’Sullivan claimed that youngsters, some as young as 12, are terrorising their neighbours.

“Are the very destructive youths getting on to these programmes and is there a need for a number of different programmes, and can we deal with the harder core of youngsters,” queried the deputy.

Pointing out that “it is very easy for someone to slip on to the wrong path, Cllr Joe Leddin referred to the money invested in the diversionary programmes as money well spent.

“The gardai and the other agencies involved are building up a strong relationship with the young people at risk when engaging in these programmes,” he concluded.