Dromineer harbour: Locals say anti-social behaviour has hit a 'new low'
The behaviour of some people in Dromineer in north Tipperary during the fine weather was described this week by a local business owner as an all-time low.
The issue was raised by councillors at the July meeting of Nenagh Municipal District Council.
Following the meeting, Rita Ryan of the Whiskey Still pub and restaurant told the Tipperary Star that she had now asked locals and boat owners and users to put in writing the abuse and behaviour they witnessed when temperatures soared two weeks ago.
“We have never before seen the volume of people engaging in anti-social behaviour. It was horrendous,” she said.
“Boat users are pulling out in their droves,” she warned. “It is in danger of becoming a no-go area.”
Ms Ryan said that there was now a need to protect boat users and said there may be a need for a security fence with an access code to be erected around part of the facility, especially to the boardwalk which was being used by mainly young people as a diving board.
“It is sad to say this is what has to happen,” she said. “It is appalling what is being said to boat users with people jumping off their boats.”
She said that one boat user had returned to their craft to find up to 18 young people on the boat.
“They are using the boardwalk like a runway to run along and jump into the water,” she said.
Ms Ryan urged Tipperary County Council to consider pausing its plans to extend the boardwalk.
Ms Ryan said that she had been “upset” by what had gone on in the picturesque lakeside village.
“There is no point in sending uniformed gardaí, the only ones who could deal with what went on was the Emergency Response Unit,” she said. “We need zero tolerance.”
She said that she hoped for written reports from those affected by the anti-social behaviour on what had transpired and that that information could be acted on to prevent a similar occurrence happening next year.
Three local residents who did not wish to be identified each said that one man had been told that his wife would be raped and he would have to watch, while a boat user who confronted a gang of youths diving off his boat deck was told that if he didn’t let them do it they would slit his throat. They also confirmed that a business owner had been threatened that he would have his house burned down.
Declan Collison, who runs the Lough Derg House and the Lake Café in the village said that he was aware that there had been an issue with some jet ski users.
“Waterways Ireland needs to enforce the rules and patrol the harbour on busy weekends,” he said.
Mr Collison said that Waterways Ireland could spend “millions” on projects but a “couple of hundred euro” would put up signage to tell people what the rules were.
"People will use that as an excuse to do what they like,” he said regarding the absence of signage.
Local resident and boat owner Helen Moylan said that they kept their boat in a private marina and used to come around to the harbour but won’t do that now in fine weather because “you don’t feel safe”.
She said gangs of youths were treating boats and moorings as diving platforms and people were afraid to leave their boats because these people would get up on to the boat in your absence.
“The threatening behaviour is getting more violent and vicious,” said Ms Moylan. “It is getting worse and worse.”
She said that the council, Waterways Ireland and the gardaí were “each passing the buck” as to who was responsible for what.
“There is a swimming bylaw that says swimming is not permitted in waterways but it is not enforced and it needs to be updated as it is about 100-years-old,” she said.
Ms Moylan described it as “an awful shame” that people were now afraid to come into Dromineer as it was “one of the nicest harbours on the lake”.
She was not against people using the lake but it needed a designated swimming area, with a platform out in the water and a lifeguard akin to Mountshannon during the summer season.
“People are entitled to enjoy the water,” she said.
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