Close to 400 people turned out in force last week to air their concerns over the rise in criminal activity and anti social behaviour across the county.
The public meeting which was organised by Cllr Gerry Warnock (Ind) attracted business people, local politicians and members of the public to the Longford Arms Hotel where fears and concerns were shared about increasing levels of crime. None of the constituency’s TDs were present and neither was there garda representation on the night, despite invites being issued.
Just last week a businesswoman in Longford town was bundled into the boot of her car after two men abducted her and sped through the town in her car. Later when the vehicle went out of control and crashed, the woman was rescued and local gardaí are currently investigating the matter.
“The gravity of this situation is causing great concern to the people of Co Longford,” said Cllr Warnock.
“It is the decent, hard working people of the county that have come here tonight because they want to be heard. This is not a politically motivated event, this is beyond politics; this is a social issue.
For Cathaoirleach Cllr Mark Casey (Ind) who assisted Cllr Warnock on the night, it was the bad press of recent weeks for Longford that had caused concern.
“What’s happening in our town and across our county is not acceptable, and this is not what we want for a county that we love so much,” he added.
While the meeting heard that assaults, robberies, drug dealing, Traveller feuding, anti social behaviour at all hours of the day and night as well as displays of wealth ‘from people who haven’t worked a day in their lives’ were among the concerns,
Cllr Warnock also declared that he knew elderly residents in Longford town who would have gone up town at night for a “couple of pints”, but who no longer do so because “they are afraid to walk up the streets of Longford town”.
Cllr Seamus Butler (FF) then addressed the meeting from the floor. He said that he had been informed ‘at the highest level’ that the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB) was on its way to Longford to investigate the displays of wealth. “These people need to be hit in the pocket and get them out of Longford,” he added.
Before concluding proceedings Cllr Mark Casey pointed out that for evil to reign it only took good people to do nothing.
“We must reclaim what is ours - a beautiful, lovely county,” he said.
“We must get the scum out and insist that in order to live in Longford, you must be a decent, law abiding citizen.” A second meeting will be held on Thursday, December 11 next at 8pm in the Longford Arms Hotel.
For more on this story, see this week’s Longford Leader.