Ongoing antisocial behaviour concerns

Ongoing antisocial behaviour concerns
By Eamonn McFaddeneditorial@donegaldemocrat.com@dgldemocrat

An ongoing issue of antisocial behaviour on a Twin Towns housing estate is occuring "day and night", and has resulted in people refusing to take up housing offers in the area, a local councillor has claimed.

Cllr Martin Harley said the council did not seem to have the power to deal with the ongoing issue but if they were a housing association they "could throw them to the road".

His comments came at a meeting of the Stranorlar Municipal District yesterday.

"It is frustrating for the council but a nightmare for the people living there and I'd like to know what can be done to help these people out," he said of the unnamed estate.

He said that vacant houses belonging to the local authority had been offered to families and they are continually being turned down because of the reputation the area attracted.

Cllr Patrick McGowan said some residents had moved from the area in question and the estate was "upside down" with allocations being refused on an ongoing basis.

"They are not being looked after by the landlord and in this case the landlord is the council. We talk about this all the time and it is no accident that we have the most casual vacancies in the county," he added.

He also stated that once an area gains a bad reputation it is very difficult to restore its good name.

"Houses are being refused time, after time, after time, even after they are gone. That is a great estate with great people. It is easy to get a bad name and it is not easy to get it back. The council is not doing enough," Cllr McGowan added.

He called for a special workshop meeting with the council to address the matter where they can “talk specifically” on the estate and individuals involved.

Cllr Gary Doherty said there seemed to be "no light at the end of the tunnel" in this issue yet the "very decent and hard working people in those estates are being blighted by this behaviour".

He added that many areas around the country experience similar problems and such areas “can turn themselves around”.

He said he would like to see a “three strikes and you’re out” policy that should apply to everybody and added that such tenants should then be left to find accommodation in the “private market”.

Cllr Liam Doherty said he agreed with much of what had been raised and added that they needed to address the appearance of some estates in the area as they were "like the Bronx".

He said many residents had great pride in their homes but with some houses boarded up, it detracted from the area in visual appearance.

“The roughness of the estate alone would put you off going in,” he said.

Director of Service Joe Peoples said he would schedule a workshop meeting for September but said he would like to see action taken sooner than then.

He said it was “not acceptable” that housing offers could not be taken up for the reasons outlined.