Market Square loitering issue to be aired at JPC meeting

Fears that one of Longford town’s most popular meeting points is becoming a haven for intimidatory behaviour is likely to be thrashed out at a Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting today (Wednesday).

Fears that one of Longford town’s most popular meeting points is becoming a haven for intimidatory behaviour is likely to be thrashed out at a Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting today (Wednesday).

Its chairperson, Cllr Brendan Gilmore said that concerns people were shying away from the Market Square in favour of other parts of town, would be raised with Longford Superintendent Denis Shields.

The Independent councillor’s claim stemmed from a series of remarks that had been made by elected members of Longford Town Council last week.

Cllrs Mae Sexton and Gerry Warnock said they had both noticed a gradual lessening in the numbers of people using the square’s seating areas in recent weeks.

Cllr Sexton said she had become “really annoyed” at the situation, leading to worries the square was warding off people because large groups of adolescents were now starting to congregate there.

Likewise, Cllr Warnock said he felt heartened by Cllr Gilmore’s intention to press ahead with the debate at JPC level and asked whether gardai could enforce tighter restrictions on matters of public loitering.

Fianna Fail’s Michael Connellan took a similar view, stressing the problem had already started to take its toll.

“I do see the loitering problem and I do see the intimidation that it can have on others when groups of people gather down there,” he said.

“A lot of money has been spent on the Market Square and it is one of the first things a visitor sees when they come into Longford.”

Eager to remain upbeat, Town Mayor Cllr Peggy Nolan said the importance in maintaining the Market Sqaure as one of the town’s more aesthetically pleasing amenities was paramount.

“I still see a lot of old Longford people using it and Longford families. I think we should exhaust every avenue to try and instill a bit of civic pride down there,” she said.