Real lessons must be learned af­ter se­vere Hal­loween dam­age

Drogheda Independent - - NEWS - By HU­BERT MUR­PHY

LESSONS must be learned af­ter tax­pay­ers were left with the bill to clean up thou­sands of euro worth of dam­age fol­low­ing a se­ries if il­le­gal bon­fires around Drogheda on Hal­loween night.

One coun­cil­lor also claims there was bla­tant drug tak­ing at one scene in The Glen.

Coun­cil­lor Paul Bell crit­i­cised the fail­ure of Louth County Coun­cil to agree a co or­di­nated ap­proach with on Garda Siochana and com­mu­ni­ties in the fight against a spate of an­ti­so­cial and crim­i­nal be­hav­iour in the lead up to and on Hal­loween night hav­ing promised at Joint Polic­ing Com­mit­tee meet­ings to cor­rect the fail­ings of pre­vi­ous year and in par­tic­u­lar 2017.

“The fail­ure of the lo­cal au­thor­ity has per­mit­ted il­le­gal dump­ing on pub­lic green spa­ces. Dump­ing of com­mer­cial and do­mes­tic waste, not to men­tion the burn­ing of toxic ma­te­rial which has a neg­a­tive im­pact on ci­ti­zens suf­fer­ing from COPD, asthma and bronchial con­di­tions. While front­line mem­bers of staff from Coun­cil pro­vided ser­vices to the best of their abil­ity to com­mu­ni­ties re­quest­ing help to re­move flammable ma­te­ri­als, the lack of a co or­di­nated re­sponse in­volv­ing the ex­ec­u­tive man­age­ment of Louth County Coun­cil and An Garda Siochana fails our com­mu­nity”.

Bell was also ex­tremely crit­i­cal of busi­nesses on the Donore Road side of town, say­ing tyres were taken from one lo­ca­tion and burned in Balls­grove. ‘How­ever ,I do ap­pre­ci­ate the ef­forts of Louth County Coun­cil Lit­ter War­dens for their en­gage­ment which even­tu­ally re­sulted in proper se­cu­rity pro­ce­dures be­ing put in place”.

Louth County Coun­cil have lit­er­ally spent thou­sands of euro in both dis­pos­ing of seized flammable ma­te­ri­als and the clean up af­ter the night which can go on for days.

He says Louth County staff should also be re­sourced to act on in­for­ma­tion fur­nished by res­i­dents re­quest­ing in­ter­ven­tion. ‘Many res­i­dents in St Finian’s Park, Rath­mul­lan and Balls­grove have con­demned the ac­tions of those in­volved in driv­ing a car into the bon­fire which was an ex­tremely dan­ger­ous act re­sult­ing in an ex­plo­sion which thank­fully did not in­jure by­stander and not to men­tion the cost of re­mov­ing the burnt out shell.’

Coun­cil­lor Pio Smith said in­ci­dents in the Glen area were un­ac­cept­able.

“The be­hav­iour that took place in the Glen area of Yel­low­bat­ter was dis­grace­ful and had noth­ing to do with Hol­loween and en­joy­ing a fes­ti­val. A Bon­fire was quickly erected by youths, not from the area af­ter 4pm and when it was lit up to 150 peo­ple gath­ered around the fire and stayed late into the night. Lo­cal res­i­dents were abused by some peo­ple, again not from the area who took the op­por­tu­nity to dump their waste for burn­ing.

‘ There was open drink­ing and drug deal­ing tak­ing place, with deal­ers driv­ing their ve­hi­cles off the road and up onto the play­ing sur­face of a lo­cal girls soc­cer team. Bro­ken glass and other rub­bish was strewn over the road and green space. This be­hav­iour can­not be al­lowed to take place next year.

‘We have By Laws that con­trol the use of al­co­hol in unau­tho­rised places with fines of 1900 that can be im­posed on peo­ple break­ing the law. The Gardai may need to de­ploy more plain clothes of­fi­cers to po­lice bon­fire ac­tiv­ity.

‘ The guards dis­persed the crowd at 11pm from the Glen, how­ever when the guards left the gang re­turned. The coun­cil need to map out the ar­eas where tra­di­tion­ally bon­fires have been lit and tar­get these ar­eas over the 24 hours of Hal­loween. At the end of the day it is the house­holds of the town that pay for the clean up and the fire ser­vice and lo­cal res­i­dents who suf­fer abuse from peo­ple who are break­ing the law. This can’t be al­lowed to con­tinue”

A car burned out on a bon­fire

af­ter the Bon­fire at Rath­mullen Green

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