10 Aug 2022

Nenagh gardaí 'losing the battle' against unruly teenagers says councillor

Nenagh Gardaí "losing the battle" against unruly teenagers says Councillor

Nenagh's Gardaí are "losing the battle" against teenagers engaged in anti-social behaviour in Nenagh town centre says one Councillor

People in Nenagh are concerned that escalating anti-social behaviour in the town centre driven by a group of unruly teenagers will result in someone being seriously injured, the Tipperary Joint Policing Committee heard this week.

The group of teenagers are "using Nenagh town centre and the Main Street as their summer playground and it is out of control", according to Independent Nenagh Councillor, Hughie McGrath, who said local people fear the Gardaí are "losing the battle" against.

"People in Nenagh are afraid that an older person might be knocked down and injured by these teenagers - people feel the Gardaí are losing the battle with this group of teenagers in Nenagh", Cllr. McGrath said. adding that he would like updates on the number of ASBO order issued in Nenagh to deal with younger people engaged in anti-social behaviour.

Chief Superintendent Derek Smart said he was surprised to hear such a situation was unfolding in Nenagh, as he had not received any reports of a spike in anti-social behaviour in the town centre.

"I haven't heard of many incidents reported, but I can assure you the Gardaí certainly won't be walking away from that and I will talk with Superintendent Lacey and the two Inspectors in Nenagh about the issue and to ensure there is adequate policing put in place there", Chief Superintendent Smart said.

"We do need more visibility and that people see Gardaí working on the ground and I would urge people to report any incidents to the Gardaí, or any suspicious activity", he added.

Sinn Féin TD Martin Browne questioned if the sudden rise in anti-social behaviour in Nenagh was due to young people not being on the streets for so long during the pandemic and cautioned that a very negative message was coming out about Nenagh.

"While I understand that elderly people are afraid in places, is it counterproductive that we put out the message there is a massive increase in anti-social behaviour and that we actually frighten people not to come out? I think we need to be careful the way we project whatever is happening in our communities", Deputy Browne said.

Cllr. McGrath took issue with this and said his job as a local representative is to raise the issues put to him by "the people who stop me on the street".

"I won't play politics with anything - we have a great town with great shops and great people - but when people stop me on the street and tell me they're afraid that an older person will be knocked down I will raise it.

"I make no apologies for the way I speak about issues in my town and I'll take no lessons from Deputy Browne about how to speak in public or how to raise the issues in my town - I represent it the way I want to represent it", Cllr. McGrath said.

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