Local authority officials and garda chiefs are being urged to clamp down on so-called ‘boy racers’ after more than 50 car enthusiasts brought a Longford town estate to a virtual standstill last weekend.
Homeowners living close to Longford’s EDI Centre were left stunned by last Saturday night’s incident, Town Cllr Tony Flaherty told last week’s meeting of the local authority.
Stopping short of naming the estate concerned, he also revealed some drivers even ventured as far as to physically lift concrete bollards in order to gain access to an open stretch of the otherwise quiet neighbourhood.
“This going on two or three nights every single week,” he said, leaving some of his fellow members visibly surprised by the revelation.
“I have nothing against boy racers, but I think it might be time to look for a greenfield site for these people because they are ruining the environment of this town.”
The long serving Town councillor said it was not the only concern he harboured when it came to modified car users.
“We can all see what they do on Church Street with the litter they leave on a Monday morning from chips and other fast food.”
“When I got that phonecall and went down to the estate, I have to say I was shocked by what I saw,” he said, pausing to reveal the vast majority of cars assembled towards the back of the town’s EDI Centre.
One local resident, plainly taken aback by it all, rang gardai who were on the scene in a matter of minutes.
Yet, for all that swift response, Cllr Flaherty said the time has come for the council to step in.
“We just can’t allow this kind of thing to continue in Longford town housing estates,” he remarked.
Giving her own reaction to the news, Cllr Mae Sexton said she believed a growing number of youngsters were arranging mass meetings through social media channels.
“The noise that does come from the new Newtownforbes by-pass along the Strokestown road at times, I’m telling you, even your TV can’t be heard with it.”
She likewise called for gardai to be briefed over a practice she admitted had become more commonplace in recent times.
But calls for a specially designated area for ‘boy racers’ did not command the support of all members however.
Independent Cllr Brendan Gilmore said a tough handed approach was the only way to solve the problem.
Referring to a similarly linked issue a number of years ago, Cllr Gilmore said heavy stone was put in place in certain areas to deter undesirable behaviour.
“Why should we (council) provide a speed track for these people?” stated the Co Board Chairman. “This kind of thing is up to the guards, they have the powers.”
It’s now expected the issue will take centre stage at the next meeting of Longford Town Council’s Joint Policing Committee (JPC).