Bal­brig­gan growth is ‘dan­ger­ous’ says Cllr

Fingal Independent - - NEWS - John MAN­NING

BAL­BRIG­GAN is play­ing ‘catch up’ in terms of the re­sources the town has to cope with an es­ca­lat­ing pop­u­la­tion which has bro­ken through the 20,000 bar­rier in the lat­est Cen­sus fig­ures.

Bal­brig­gan needed the ad­di­tion of Bal­roth­ery in the last cen­sus to top that 20,000 mile­stone but in the lat­est Cen­sus, the town alone has recorded a pop­u­la­tion of some 21,723 peo­ple, climb­ing to al­most 24,000 when com­bined with Bal­roth­ery.

In that con­text, Bal­brig­gan In­de­pen­dent Al­liance coun­cil­lor, Tony Mur­phy is con­cerned that the ser­vices re­quired to serve that pop­u­la­tion are lag­ging be­hind and fears that even greater growth for the town in the years ahead could lead to a ‘dan­ger­ous’ sit­u­a­tion.

‘I would say the real con­cern is that with the pres­sure that is com­ing on all de­part­ments with re­gard to the hous­ing cri­sis, we have and Fingal County Coun­cil hav­ing large banks of land in Bal­brig­gan, that stress will be there to put more so­cial houses in Bal­brig­gan without the re­sources to man­age the pop­u­la­tion that ex­ists al­ready, It’s dan­ger­ous where we are go­ing.’ Cllr Mur­phy told the Fingal In­de­pen­dent.

Cllr Mur­phy is par­tic­u­larly con­cerned about polic­ing in the area and said for sev­eral months, Bal­brig­gan has been without com­mu­nity gardaí on the beat in the town and an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour is ris­ing.

At a re­cent Fingal Joint Polic­ing Com­mit­tee pub­lic meet­ing in the town, Cllr Mur­phy said he noted a spike in com­plaints about an­ti­so­cial be­hav­iour. He said there were ‘gangs of young lads trav­el­ling across es­tates, caus­ing nui­sance and in­tim­i­da­tion and threat­en­ing peo­ple’. He re­lated one story told at the JPC meet­ing where a Bal­brig­gan man had his ‘door kicked in’ by youths who then re­fused to leave the house and laughed when the home­owner said he would call gardaí.

The Bal­brig­gan coun­cil­lor also said there was need for a ‘fam­ily re­source cen­tre’ in Bal­brig­gan to give strug­gling fam­i­lies in the area bet­ter ac­cess to so­cial ser­vices.

On a more pos­i­tive note, the Bal­brig­gan coun­cil­lor said that the rate of school build­ing in the town in re­cent years had caught up with de­mand and it now seemed there was enough ca­pac­ity in the sys­tem at pri­mary and sec­ondary level but there was a need for some kind of vo­ca­tional third level in­sti­tu­tion in the town.

Cllr Tony Mur­phy.

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