Trou­ble­some teens must be taken to task

Bray People - - OPINION - with Deb­o­rah Cole­man

IT has come to some­thing when peo­ple feel that se­cu­rity is needed in public parks and chil­dren’s play­grounds.

Calls were made in re­cent days for se­cu­rity to be in­stalled at a park in Car­low after a gang of youths re­port­edly at­tempted to set a young boy’s hair on fire.

The cost of this could run to €70,000 per year but a much more ef­fec­tive way would be for par­ents to pay more at­ten­tion to where their teenage kids are and what they are get­ting up to.

Car­low isn’t the first county to ex­pe­ri­ence such anti-so­cial be­hav­iour in ar­eas des­ig­nated for com­mu­nity use, and pri­mar­ily for younger chil­dren.

This is an is­sue across the coun­try. Only re­cently there were re­ports of glass melted into slides. The dam­age this could cause to a young child doesn’t even bear think­ing about.

The prob­lem arises when older young­sters con­gre­gate around play­grounds where they have no busi­ness in the first place. These ‘anti-so­cial’ peo­ple of course, should not be there caus­ing trou­ble or in­tim­i­dat­ing or in fact as­sault­ing oth­ers, yet they are.

So where do their par­ents think they are when they are down the town caus­ing trou­ble?

Let me be clear, I’m not sug­gest­ing that ev­ery group of young peo­ple that hangs out on the sum­mer hol­i­days is up to no good - but a small el­e­ment is - and this is unacceptable.

Play­grounds, put in to com­mu­ni­ties, ei­ther through lo­cal gov­ern­ment fund­ing or monies raised by those in the com­mu­nity - are not de­signed to be a hang­out for those in their late teens - and they do not serve as a drink­ing and smok­ing den after hours.

And, ev­ery time a piece of equip­ment gets dam­aged or de­faced, the tax­payer once again must pick up the tab.

Call them young, reck­less or just bored, but the small per­cent­age of trou­ble mak­ers who en­gage in such be­hav­iour must be called on their ac­tions.

Surely there are more ways they can en­ter­tain them­selves and have fun with­out caus­ing hassle for oth­ers or mak­ing a dent into both lo­cal au­thor­ity and Garda re­sources.

An in­ci­dent such as ex­pe­ri­enced in Car­low by that child will not be easy to get over and while it is one thing to hang around be­ing a nui­sance, it is quite an­other to at­tempt to as­sault a child in this fash­ion.

A com­mon an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour prob­lem is aris­ing when older young­sters con­gre­gate around play­grounds where they have no busi­ness in the first place.

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