Horse dung and stones thrown at houses as well as threats and verbal abuse are all part of life in a Donegal housing estate, a former resident has said.
Lawne Park in Ballyshannon was in the spotlight this week after a local councillor told a council meeting that conditions in the estate are totally intolerable.
Cllr Barry O’Neill described the estate as a “living hell” and a number of former residents have described their own personal experiences.
Cllr O’Neill said the situation in the Lawne Park estate has become very volatile with tensions mounting.
He told Tuesday’s meeting of the Donegal Municipal District that unless something is done immediately there could be much more serious consequences. He said it was very much a case of certain people holding a community to ransom.
A former resident who preferred not to be named told the Donegal Democrat: “This was worse than a living hell. It was pure intimidation peppered with serious threats. We had horse dung, toys and stones thrown at our doors and windows and could not go outside the door without being abused.
“Loud music was being blasted at all hours of the morning. It was a strategic plan to get us to throw in the towel and leave so that they could get the house. In one instance this is exactly what has happened.
“I know of one person who was seriously threatened physically and the situation is still the same up there. Regrettably, some just had enough and moved.
“These are people who had invested a lot of money in their homes and just had to walk away in fear.”
Cllr O’Neill claimed that he knew of one boy who had kicked his football into a garden and when he went to retrieve it was attacked and had his arm broken.
“I don’t think that the people in Lawne Park in Ballyshannon should have to live like this,” he said.
“There are a lot of decent people living there. I have video footage in my possession and I am quite prepared to release it lest anyone think that this is an exaggeration. This is a case of people holding an estate to ransom.”
Cllr. O’Neill called on the gardaí and all the relevant authorities to get together and find a resolution “before this ends in tragedy”.
Donegal County Council
Pauric Sheerin of the council’s Housing Department said: “We are well aware of all the issues surrounding illegal encampments and are doing all we can in attempting to deal with the housing aspect.”
Cllr. O’Neill said: “I would have raised this issue in camera but I felt that somebody has to speak out. The people of Lawne Park do not need this bad publicity but it is not the publicity that’s the problem, it’s the issues.”
Speaking yesterday afternoon, Cllr O’Neill said he had received an email from Donegal County Council stating that the issue was not a matter for the council’s planning department but one for the gardaí.