Those terrorising Mountmellick were described as ‘scum’ while burglaries have increased by a massive 41% in Portlaoise.
The Portlaoise Joint Policing Committee at Áras an Chontae also heard that 2,227 crimes had been committed in Portlaoise this year an increase of 1% over the same period in 2011 (there were 14 less crimes 2,213).
Recounting the story of how a relative of his had her purse stolen, Cllr Alan Hand warned Portlaoise shoppers to be wary over the festive period.
“There will be an increase of retail activity in the lead up to Christmas and I’d urge people to be on the alert for possible pick pockets and handbag thieves.”
Cllr Caroline Dwane claimed that a handful of juveniles were out of control and holding residents of the Mountmellick Road and Ballyfin Road in Portlaoise to ransom.
Mountmellick Town Councillor Marc Connolly suggested people had become so annoyed that they were considering setting up vigilante groups to reclaim their town.
Cllr Denis O’Mara alleged there was ‘no policing’, while an ashamed Senator John Whelan indicated that one mightn’t see a Garda on the beat or a patrol car for up to a fortnight in towns the size of Mountmellick.
Frustrated Mountmellick councillors are seeking a meeting with the Garda Commissioner to discuss the worsening crime situation in their town.
While concerned members of the local Business Association organised a petition calling for the unlawful activities to be stamped out.
“People are living in genuine terror. Those responsible have engaged in any means they see fit to extort money from people with aggression and intimidation,” explained Business Mountmellick Chairperson Michael Dowling.
McElwee Pharmacy also wrote to Mountmellick TC in regard to its Methadone dispensing contract. “We do not have any new patients who may or may not be connected with recent unsettled activity in the town.”
Meanwhile, the communities of Ballacolla and Ballinakill are reeling following the Budget day news that their Garda stations are to close. Michael G Phelan said locals were extremely unhappy.