Calls to ‘reclaim’ Sean Walsh Park following serious incidents
CONCERNED residents gathered in Sean Walsh Park last Saturday calling on South Dublin County Council to reintroduce cycling park rangers that will allow them to “reclaim the park” following assaults and antisocial behaviour in the park.
There was a large turnout as the residents of the close by Watergate estate in Tallaght met last Saturday, February 19, to voice their concerns and frustrations about the ongoing issues in the park. The meeting was also attended by local TD’s John Lahart and Paul Murphy and Tallaght councillor Teresa Costello.
As reported by The Echo, there has been an increase in the levels of anti-social behaviour in the park which has led to residents, many of which are elderly, avoiding the park completely.
One resident recently spoke to The Echo about incidences such as his elderly mother being robbed at knife point, wheelie bin theft and bricks being used to smash windows in the area. A resident who attended the meeting also spoke about her daughter being attacked by four men wearing balaclavas while crossing the bridge in the park earlier this month.
“I have done a lot of research on what other areas and other countries have done on a long-term basis because there is not a park across the world that doesn’t have some form of anti-social behaviour,” one resident, Barbara Sharlott, explained.
“The long-term solution is to have park rangers that will build up a rapport with the community and grow with the community and then there is a respect there.
“We want to open the park up and have activities going on all year long and reclaim the park.”
“This has been going on years and nothing has been done,” said another resident Phil Foster. “The only thing that is actually going to work is us as a group to get together and decide what we are going to say to the council.
“We cannot wait until somebody gets killed in this park. Attacks have happened over a short space of time so why hasn’t anything been done?”
“The only thing that is going to achieve having a safe park is the community and the people in the area.”
People before Profit TD Paul Murphy also spoke at the meeting, suggesting ways in which residents could approach the situation to get their voices heard.
“I do believe that if we have a campaign and put pressure on the council, we will be able to win things such as lighting, benches, activities in the park – and they will change how people see the park as a place that people are actually going to use rather than a place people are afraid to walk through because they don’t know what is going to happen to them.
“We can contact the council and set up an official campaign and arrange for a deputation to go and meet with all of the councillors in the area and say that this absolutely needs to happen.”
He continued: “It is not a nice thing to have a park beside you that you don’t feel safe in. Everyone feels that together and if people stand together, I do think that we can begin to turn that situation around.”
Members of the public are urged to call Tallaght Garda Station on (01) 666 6000 if they witness or experience intimidating, threatening or anti-social behaviour in the park.