“Investigating with a wall of silence is very difficult”

By Maurice Garvey

GARDAI refute claims they failed to do their job on Halloween night at California Hills in Ballyfermot.

The troubled park has suffered from joyriding, anti-social behaviour and neglected horses in recent years – driving local football club Drumfinn Celtic out of existence due to their pitch being constantly destroyed.

California Hills antisocial 3

A California Hills committee member at the recent policing meeting, claimed gardai failed to put out a bonfire and remove stolen cars in the park on Halloween night.

“There was no gardai in the park after 6pm,” he said.

Superintendent Brendan Connolly refuted the claim, stating he was in the area himself that night until 2am, and that a public order unit was assigned to cover potential problems.

“I put significant resources into Halloween night, including two fulltime gardai at California Hills. I experienced myself a middle-aged man dumping a tv on a bonfire. Gardai or Dublin City Council can’t be responsible for that.

“It’s not a case of us versus you or anybody. It’s a case of trying to provide a service and work with people. A lot of stuff that is happening is by local people discommoding their neighbours. We can’t sit in a place day in day out, we have to spread out resources across the areas.

“Investigating with a wall of silence is very difficult. When we go to serious incidents with 30/40 people there, I’m amazed nobody saw anything. But it’s the same across the city.”

Meanwhile, Dublin City Council are looking at increasing a discretionary fund for California Hills.

Independent Councillor Vincent Jackson said this will include €35,000 towards CCTV.

“It’s the first time the park is getting CCTV,” said Cllr Jackson.

“We are going to spend a lot of money in California Hills this year but we will never eradicate fully negative behaviour. It is important to improve the positive aspect of the park. Residents are terrified to oppose those who feel they hold sway in the park.”

The California Hills resident said the fund is a “drop in the ocean.”

“Authorities don’t give a damn. They made a balls of tarmacking a path and will have to do it again. I would also appeal for people not to dump their leftover dinners in the park for horses. They think they are doing good, but the horses can’t eat that stuff at this time of the year.”

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