ACTION has been called for to prevent a group of youths from continuing to intimidate residents of the county town of Askeaton. In the most recent incident, a diversion was put in place around the town on Halloween night, as a group of teens allegedly caused carnage by throwing sticks and rocks at shops and vehicles. In 2009 the Limerick Post reported that residents of Askeaton were living in fear and, at the time,
Cllr Kevin Sheahan appealed to anyone who witnessed incidents of anti-social behaviour to immediately report them to the police.
However, the intimidation has escalated again of-late, it has been claimed.
Speaking at a recent meeting of the county Joint Policing Committee, Cllr Sheahan said he had “never witnessed such concern” relating to an incident in Askeaton on Halloween night.
“Those involved were as young as 12 and up to 16, people have said.
“They were throwing sticks and stones and traffic had to be diverted from 7pm to 10pm.
“This is on top of several other incidents the community has suffered in recent times; it’s the top of the moment.
“There is a lot positive in Askeaton, and there were less than 10 individuals involved in this.
“Action is needed so the rest of the community can live without intimidation or fear”.
Joe Whelan, a member of the Askeaton Community Council, addressed the meeting, claiming that incidents of anti-social behaviour had not been handled sufficiently by the gardaí.
“There were big incidents in Askeaton in June and at Halloween and they were passed over lightly and shouldn’t have been.
“What happened shouldn’t have been allowed in any civilised society.
“Traffic was diverted as gardaí were unable to cope.
“They didn’t do their job on Halloween night”.
Mr. Whelan explained that a meeting had been held by the Community Council in an attempt to deal with the issue.
“We organised a public meeting with business people, the community council and politicians.
“We need to put an action plan in place to tackle this”.
Cllr Stephen Keary said he was present at the meeting and was shocked at the concerns of locals.
“We need some procedure for trial and curfew.
“If there were constraints there, they could be a deterrent in the future”.
In response, Chief Superintendent David Sheahan that it was more difficult to deal with the culprits as some are juveniles.
“At the end of the day some involved are juveniles and can’t be put before the courts.
“If they are over 12 and under 18 we can deal with them under the juvenile diversion programme.
“I’d like to think these incidents are once-offs, but if they continue we can certainly say we have problems”.