Tallaght residents demand meeting to discuss laneway safety issues

By Mary Dennehy

RESIDENTS have sent a letter to South Dublin County Council seeking a meeting with management over the need for safety measures to be introduced on a laneway that connects the estates of Raheen and Whitebrook in Tallaght.

Branded the ‘lane of chance’ by residents, the laneway has been the subject of much debate over the past two decades, with the unlit lane most recently being the location of an alleged sexual assault on a young woman on February 5.

lane in Raheen 1

The young woman, who was not physically injured during the attack, which involved a man in his early thirties “groping” her in the laneway, managed to escape when a member of the public heard her screaming – and the culprit fled the scene.

Following the assault, residents have criticised the council for “ignoring” their concerns over the laneway which, unlit, has been the location of a previous assault, and is also, according to residents, a beacon for anti-social behaviour, drug-dealing, drinking and stolen cars.

In a letter, seen by The Echo, to the County Manager, residents wrote: “It is the ‘lane of chance’ when and if you dare to walk its path.

“There have been physical assaults in this lane, a man broke his leg in this lane on Christmas morning protecting his family and home from thieves, not to mention a bomb in the lane, home break-ins, sheds robbed of their contents and burned [and] stolen cars burned out.”

The letter continued: “Looking away is not a solution.

“The lack of public lighting and CCTV to Tallaght Garda Station . . . is aiding and complicit in this breakdown of law and order.
“The residents/homeowners seek a meeting with the council to discuss the safety precautions put forward to alleviate the constant fear of attack on our person and homes.”

Proposals to close the lane, which was originally constructed as an access route to the bus, shops and schools in the area, were discussed a number of years back.

However, due to its function as an access route, an agreement wasn’t reached with the residents in the area.

Springfield resident and Tallaght Central Fianna Fáil councillor Charlie O’Connor said: “There is no consensus among the community for closing the lane, but a solution to concerns surrounding the lane have for a long time been sought.

“The council does need to enter into meaningful negotiations with members of the community to see if some consensus can be reached, a solution is found.

“This is a complicated matter due to the make-up of the laneway, and there are access issues.

“However, the council does need to take responsibility and convene a meeting and I’d encourage residents to come together and form a representative body which can enter negotiations on behalf of the people living in the area.”

When contacted by The Echo, council director Teresa Walsh said: “The council would normally liaise with residents through a representative group such as a Resident’s Association, Community Group or Environmental Group.

“When a group has a number of issues that they wish to discuss with council members and officials, a Deputation Meeting can be arranged through our community department where officials from the different council departments are available to address those issues.

“The council is open to discussion with residents in Raheen and Whitebrook and this can be facilitated by way of a Deputation Meeting.”

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