Tackling anti-social behaviour
The need to highlight violence and anti-social behaviour in some County Wexford estates outweighs the need to preserve a positive image of the county.
Cllr George Lawlor made this point during a heated debate on anti-social behaviour after a national newspaper outlined how the county has the highest number of complaints from council estate residents in the country, outside of Dublin.
Cllr Malcolm Byrne brought a motion highlighting the issue. He said he doesn't believe that the council executive has adopted a strong enough stance on the matter.
Cllr Byrne said some of the disputes are neighbourly in nature or from cranks and a minority of tenants are involved.
'Our approach has been too softly, softly. Rubbish has been allowed to be built up in back yards in estates causing chaos. Two times the environment section went out and arranged for the rubbish to be taken away (from a backyard) and last weekend rubbish was still there.'
Cllr Byrne asked for the CEO's monthly report to include the number of anti-social behaviour reports and how they are being dealt with.
Cllr Lawlor said there is a non existent approach by the council to some problem tenants, adding that the more serious the matter, the more likely it is to go unchallenged.
'I have heard incidents of stabbings on streets, anti-social behaviour causing chaos in Wexford. 70-year-olds and older crying to me on the phone because they can't leave their house after 7 p.m.'
He said many of these people received no letter back from the council and yet other tenants with minor problems have been receiving letters.
Cllr Larry O'Brien took exception to Cllr Lawlor's remarks, saying: 'I am not going to see the county ran down.'
Cllr Lawlor said he has had people on the phone to him while fights were occurring outside their front door.
'I have brought this to the attention of the council on a number of occasions and a young lady who lives on her own. She is getting letters from the council, whereas people who are dealing with a stabbing don't.'
Mr Carley said: 'It's a serious issue, but it's in a minority of cases.'
He acknowledged that the number was high.
Mr Carley said council housing staff are being trained to better deal with anti-social problems in estates.
'I would point out that in the last month alone a number of tenants have received warning letters and two tenants have left their accommodation, so there is no softly, softly approach. It took a period of time to get to that stage. We had 563 cases which is a large number and we need to be doing more,' he said.
Cllr Byrne's motion was unanimously supported.