by Alan Jacques
THE issue of antisocial behaviour by local authority tenants in Limerick has been raised with the Taoiseach in the Dáil.
Last Wednesday, Limerick Fianna Fail TD, Willie O’Dea pushed Taoiseach Enda Kenny to implement legislation to allow councils and the Gardaí take more severe action against tenants engaged in antisocial behaviour.
“These powers are needed to counter the growing scourge of antisocial behaviour and to deal fairly with repossession of dwellings,” Deputy O’Dea commented.
“I have been calling to residents in Garryowen and Thomondgate in recent weeks and they all back up recent articles in The Limerick Post about large gangs of youths engaging in severe anti-social behaviour.”
“Many residents say they have never in over 40 years of living in the same house witnessed anything like the hassle they have endured in recent times in Garryowen.
“One resident told me that 11 bags of rubbish were removed from outside his house the morning after a large gang of over 80 youths had congregated drinking and taking drugs.”
Deputy O’Dea has also made representations over antisocial behaviour in Garryowen and Thomondgate to the Gardaí who have agreed to significantly increase patrols in these areas, particularly at weekends.
“We need a high visibility Garda team active in all parts of Limerick who can reassure citizens that they can live in peace in their own homes. This combined with extra powers for the local authority should allow us as a community to reclaim our streets from people who have no respect for the rule of law or society as a whole,” he said.
The former Defence Minister said that legislation enacted last July provided for new possession procedures for local authority housing and for measures to strengthen their ability to evict tenants engaged in antisocial behaviour.
“That part of the act which deals with repossession in the case of anti-social behaviour by local authority tenants has not been brought into effect almost 12 months later. Local authorities are being stymied in their efforts to take action against tenants in breach of the terms of their tenancies,” the Limerick TD told Mr Kenny during Leaders question time in the Dáil last week.
Although he was unable to give a date, the Taoiseach said he would advise Deputy O’Dea of when the relevant part of the act is expected to come into effect.