St Martin’s residents welcome new Garda clinic

St Martin’s residents welcome new Garda clinic

By Aura McMenamin

Residents of St Martin’s parish in Aylesbury, Tallaght have welcomed the provision of a new monthly Garda clinic ahead of Halloween.

Residents have reported an increase in anti- social behaviour by youths in Aylesbury Park, with the community garda confirming in September that there were arrests made for drug possession and public order offences. The St Martin’s Residents Association formed last November following a particularly eventful Halloween night.

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One resident of St Martin’s, Dave, has lived in the area for ten years. He said: “Last October, Aylesbury field was taken over by teenagers.

“They were drinking, playing music, but it went further than the norm. There was a bonfire lit and a car was driven into the bonfire. That car had a gas cylinder. It was really dangerous and there was a general feeling that things might get worse.”

Before their previous community garda retired, Dave said that following a presentation to the Residents Association, people realised there was major discrepancy between the number of incidents reported and the actual level of anti-social behaviour.

Dave said: “This last Garda spoke with residents and went through the stats and said that Aylesbury had a low number of incidents compared to other areas.

“We asked him to go through the stats for Halloween and mentioned the incident with the car, and he replied that it wasn’t officially reported.”

Dave continued: “We quickly realised that we had to report every incident if we wanted a true representation of crime in the area.

“If you don’t report it, it gives the impression that things are much more quiet.”

The Residents Association now patrols the streets during more ‘troubling’ nights and has over a dozen volunteers to patrol in the weeks leading up to Halloween.

However, Dave said that these are less about enforcing authority, and more about engagement.

“Some of these are just teenage hi-jinks, they are just kids. It’s great to engage with teenagers and remind them that this is the area they live in and should be proud of.”