23 May 2022

Gardaí to clamp down on anti-social fears along Longford Royal Canal stretch

Patrols along Longford's Royal Canal walkways are to become a regular fixture as part of a concerted bid to tackle anti-social behaviour concerns.

Elected members of the county's Joint Policing Committee (JPC) were informed of the continued crackdown into loitering and other public order anxieties at this week's quarterly meeting.

Inspector Frank Finn said both foot and bicycle patrols would continue under the auspices of Operation Phoenix.
The finer details of those efforts were rolled out last October with the specific aim of having a garda on the beat every day in Longford town.

But it was the admission that those measures would now extend to the town's canal walkways and other popular public amenity locations which drew widespread acclaim among local politicians.

Cllr Gerry Warnock said the pledge was something which would undoubtedly give greater weight to the prospect of CCTV being installed at strategic locations along the canal.

Fine Gael's Peggy Nolan said she too was in agreement over the new high visibility approach as she heaped praise on the advances already made by new community Sergeant Darren Conlon.

“He has hit the ground running and his efforts are starting to bear fruit,” she said.

Cllr Nolan said there was equal merit in the council exploring the possibility of reintroducing public seating on the town's market square.

“We used to have it in place in front of Dealz, but because of anti-social behaviour it had to be removed and that needs to be prioritised,” she contended.

Cllr Nolan said there was a “partnership” focused approach required in order to ensure those aspirations are realised.

Issues linked to anti-social behaviour also drew unease among some committee members over the escalating cost in providing CCTV in urban centres across north Longford.

Cllr PJ Reilly said a debate was needed on how funding for cameras could be sourced given fears their installation may cost in the region of €100,000 each for towns like Granard, Edgeworthstown, Drumlish and Ballinalee.

Director of Services John Brannigan said there were other factors to consider besides potential costing difficulties.

“While the capital funding is an issue, the second issue is the control of data and how that is processed,” he said.

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