Sinn Féin Councillor Conor D. McGuinness has said it is long past time for the Council to tackle serious anti-social behaviour head on. He made the comments following a meeting of the Council’s Housing Committee, where a draft anti-social behaviour policy was presented to members.
“I have been campaigning for the Council’s housing department to develop a new and improved anti-social behaviour policy since I was first elected last year. While I am happy that a draft policy has been presented to the Housing SPC I am eager that the final policy will include procedures to strengthen the Council’s hand in dealing with serious anti-social behaviour.
“Anti-social behaviour in a housing estate or residential area is not just unsettling or intimidating, it undermines the ability of people to feel safe and secure in their homes. It is a scourge that must be met head on.
“Unfortunately the legal process at national level makes it exceptionally difficult for the Council to impose meaningful sanctions on repeat offenders, however its quite clear that much of what is described as anti-social behaviour is in fact criminal activity such as vandalism, drug-dealing, violence and intimidation.
“Investigating incidents of anti-social behaviour is very important, however investigations on their own are useless. There needs to be an multi-agency approach involving the Council, Gardaí, the Probation Service, TUSLA and other agencies. An Garda Síochána must take a lead in responding to the criminal activity that often underpins anti-social behaviour.
“Central government has a role to play in tackling this issue. Efforts must be made at national level to give local authorities real powers to seriously sanction individuals that are engaged in repeat anti-social behaviour. Funding for community policing must reinstated, and the excellent drugs and alcohol strategy for the region must be implemented – there is no point writing a strategy without providing the resources to implement it.”
McGuinness is a member of the Waterford Joint Policing Committee and of the Council’s Strategic Policy Committee on Housing.