Fears linked to intimidation are causing more and more local authority tenants to spurn the chance of taking up offers of new homes in a Longford town estate Council bosses are hoping to revitalise.
The claim was one which was delivered by Cllr John Browne last week as he alluded to the coercive influences that are still being felt by a certain portion of residents living in the greater Ardnacassa area.
Addressing the topic at last week’s meeting of Co Longford’s Joint Policing Committee (JPC), Cllr Browne claimed the Council were having increasing difficulties in trying to encourage tenants to locate there.
“I feel there is an ongoing, inherent problem in relation to certain aspects of Ardnacassa avenue. People that are being offered houses up there by Longford County Council don’t want to take them up because they will be intimidated,” he said.
Longford County Council, together with gardaí have spent much of the past 12 months implementing a so-called ‘Joint Action Plan’ in the hope of eradicating anti-social behaviour trends and improving the quality of life for local residents.
The Longford town publican was at pains to stress the apparent level of unease which some residents were continuing to face despite those efforts.
“I have brought people up there and I know the way they feel,” he said.
“I see that problem as ongoing.”
Longford Superintendent Jim Delaney was quick to dismiss suggestions of a spike in harassment and intimidation in the area by insisting he could not rely on unscientific evidence.
“I spoke before about intimidation,” he told Cllr Browne.
“I have no complaints of intimidation or complaints of intimidation and I can’t act on anecdotal stories.”
The Longford Supt said his officers had responded to only two incidents in the Ardnacassa area since the turn of the year.
He said in that time gardaí under his command had taken part in over 80 “proactive engagements” in the area.
“That’s not service demand calls or responding to an incident, that’s where the guards are up there themselves in a proactive capacity either searching or conducting a checkpoint and doing general patrols,” he said.
Longford County Council Chief Executive Paddy Mahon backed those assertions up as he told of the progress enforcement officials were having in dealing with derelict properties.
He said 11 premises had been identified with half a dozen owners set to be hit with letters warning them of the threat of Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) being made if remedial action is not taken.
“It’s slow, steady progress but we are beginning to see improvements,”he told the meeting.