Residents in some areas of west Donegal are not reporting incidents of crime for fear of intimidation and reprisals, it has been claimed.
The claim was made following a meeting between community representatives and state agencies to discuss the growing problem of crime and antisocial behaviour in parts of the Rosses.
Locals say the problems in the Kincasslagh, Keadue and Belcruit area have been ongoing for two years but a petrol bomb attack on a woman’s car has forced the community to take action.
Organiser of the meeting, Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig, said there has been around 40 incidents in the area in the last four to five months. “We do know there have incidents that have not been reported because of the fear of intimidation and the fear of reprisal on them,” he said. “So it is very serious. But the community is organising itself and they will not allowed to be intimidated anymore.”
Crimes committed in the area include theft of diesel, oil and garden machinery as well as vandalism and joyriding.
He said the meeting was very well attended with a number of local people along with representatives of An Garda Síochana, Ógras na Gaeltachta, Rosses CDP, Donegal Youth Service, HSE Children and Family Services, Pobail le Chéile, CDP and elected representatives. There were also apologies from Foróige and Pat the cope Gallagher, Thomas Pringle and Pearse Doherty.
The fears of families and older people living alone were explained at the meeting with tales of sleepless nights and a long list of crime incidents.
Mr Mac Giolla Easbuig said everyone present agreed that the sort of activity going on was unacceptable and the agencies resolved to support the community in whatever path they chose to take.
People spoke about the need to encourage the community to report any incidents they witness and to strengthen local groups so they effectively support families and older people. He said gardaí have already mounted extra patrols and there are plans to meet with the Pobal ar Áire – Community Alert committee locally to develop a community safety campaign.
A second meeting of people within the community will take place in the coming weeks. “We will have a discussion about how to move this forward and how we take community ownership of it,” he said. “The campaign against this has to come from within the local community with the support of the agencies. Obviously the community is very angry and the community is willing to take a stand on this.”
Anyone interested in attending the next Community Safety meeting can contact ring Micheál Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig on 0868845476.