‘Terrified’ residents angry with anti-social behaviour in park
A PUBLIC meeting will be held at the Watergate side of Sean Walsh Park this weekend, as local residents are ‘terrified’ as a result of ongoing issues with anti-social behaviour in the park.
Last December, The Echo reported on longstanding issues with anti-social behaviour in the park, including the alleged assault of two young men in the park that month.
According to local resident Brian Dunne, there has been no reduction in the levels of anti-social behaviour, leading to many elderly Watergate residents avoiding the park entirely.
Mr Dunne said one of his mother’s neighbours, who is in her 70s, was allegedly robbed at knife point during the summer.
Mr Dunne also claimed that bricks were used to smash one resident’s windows and there were issues with wheelie bin theft also during the summer.
In the last fortnight, Mr Dunne, whose elderly mother lives in Watergate, said his brother was carrying out work on a car in his mother’s driveway when a young man ran towards him and asked for help, after allegedly being chased in the park by three youths armed with knives.
Mr Dunne told The Echo: “There’s a gang of them hanging around the centre of the park and they’re causing mayhem. It’s getting worse and worse.
“And it’s not as if it’s a nighttime thing, it’s happening all the time.”
According to Mr Dunne, his elderly mother used to walk in the park on a daily basis, but has stopped in recent months because she’s concerned for her safety.
He said that many of her neighbours also avoid the park for the same reason.
“My mam used to walk in that park every morning, but now her and her neighbours don’t walk in the park anymore, because they’re terrified,” he said.
“They hear what’s going on in the park at nighttime. It sounds like a zoo with all the screaming and shouting. It’s getting worse and worse.”
The instances of anti-social behaviour appear to mainly be centred on the section of the park between The Plaza and Watergate, a popular route for residents walking to and from The Square.
A public meeting will be held this Saturday, February 19, at the Old Bawn Road entrance of the park facing Tallaght Village at 4pm, so residents can voice their concerns.
According to leaflets circulated among residents last week, the aim of the meeting is to make the park ‘a safe space’, and to call for the implementation of additional measures in the park, like public lighting and an increased park ranger presence, to deter those engaging in anti-social behaviour.
Mr Dunne, who grew up in Watergate and now lives in Old Bawn, said he sometimes feels hesitant to bring his five-year-old son to the park, but he wants him to grow up playing in the park where his father used to play.
“My young fella is only five, but I want him to play in the park like I did when I was growing up,” added Mr Dunne.
When contacted by The Echo, a garda spokeswoman said they didn’t have details on the incident about the young man who was allegedly chased in the park by a group armed with knives in recent weeks.
Mr Dunne said he believes some people in the area are reluctant to report incidents to the guards.
Mr Dunne urged people in the area to report instances of anti-social behaviour to gardai, so they have a record of what’s happening in the park.
“I’d urge people to speak up and speak out,” he said. “There’s strength in numbers.
“If you say nothing, then nothing’s going to happen – you have to report these things.”
Instances of anti-social behaviour can be reported by contacting Tallaght Garda Station on 01 666 6000.
South Dublin County Council were contacted for comment, but a response wasn’t received at the time of going to print.