Hepburn Court
residents ‘damned’

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Residents of Hepburn Court and the Ballyfin Road have been ‘damned’ by anti social behaviour, according to a Portlaoise Town Councillor.

Residents of Hepburn Court and the Ballyfin Road have been ‘damned’ by anti social behaviour, according to a Portlaoise Town Councillor.

The Fire Brigade were called to the estate seven days in a row, recently, at a cost of €21,000, as derelict houses were set on fire.

Cllr Jerry Lodge asked if the guards had enough resources to deal with the trouble in the estate.

“There is more and more anti-social behaviour. People want to bring their children up in a safe environment, but they are afraid now.

“If you need additional resources, let us know.”

While Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald called for a multi-agency approach in a motion to the town council.

“We need to get the HSE social workers involved. It cost the Fire Bridgade €21,000 in one week. This needs a society approach.

“The problems are with very young children. People can’t belive what’s happening. It got ten times worse there, two weeks ago,” she said.

Supt Yvonne Lundon said she had empathy and sympathy for the residents, who she said had been “subjected to live under torment.”

She said they had increased patrols in the area.

“As it is primarily juveniles, I have to comply with the Garda Diversion Programme.”

Supt Lundon said there was a number of offenders currently with the local Diversion programe.

“As a certain stage, if the caution doesn’t work, we have to refer to the Director in Dublin and a number of young people have been referred.”

“This situation cannot continue, it is tyrant for the citizens,” she added.

Both the guards and council were supportive of a multi-agency approach.

But Town Manager, Michael Rainey said he would not be waiting for anyone who didn’t want to get involved.

“The main stakeholders are the guards and LCC. I wouldn’t hold off for other who won or don’t want to attend,” he said.

Mr Rainey said it was a private estate, but the council had been proactive.

He said the council had limited powers under the derelict sites legislation, but were now examining what they could do under dangerous structures.