YOUNG offenders are putting people’s safety at real risk by throwing projectiles directly at passing vehicles from behind a grove of trees at the entrance to a densely populated Killarney estate.
The long-standing problem at Ballyspillane has been highlighted by Cllr John O’Donoghue who said he has raised the matter with An Garda Síochána and while they acknowledge that it is a problem, they don’t have the resources to monitor the area 24 hours a day.
He said on the rare occasions they do manage to catch some of the offenders, they are too young to do anything with except take them home where, very often, the children tell their parents they didn’t throw anything and there the matter ends.
“This area is becoming a major problem, particularly during the winter months, with anti-social behaviour becoming increasingly prevalent.
“Often when approached by members of the public, we can stand accused of bringing hearsay before the council but, in this instance, I can say I personally know two individuals who have had the windows of their cars smashed by projectiles being thrown out by young people hiding behind the trees,” Cllr O’Donoghue told a meeting of Killarney Municipal District Council this Wednesday.
He said there are many people living in the Spa, Kilcummin and Tiernaboul areas who take alternative routes home as they don’t feel safe driving past the trees.
“This is completely unacceptable for a main road in our town. I accept it is a policing matter but I feel there is an onus on us, as a public authority, to aid the process where possible,” said Cllr O’Donoghue who asked what purpose the trees to the left of the entrance to Ballyspillane estate are serving?
“Anyone who has followed my motions since I began in the council will know that cutting down trees is not high on my priority list but, in this case, I feel that it is the only option due to public safety concerns,” he added.
Not for the first time in recent years, there have been several reports of rocks, stones, bottles and other missiles being thrown at cars which have had their windscreens smashed or cracked.
Mayor Marie Moloney said the young people involved are also throwing eggs at passing vehicles and as that can cause road vision to be lost for a few seconds, the consequences could be dire.
Municipal District Engineer, John Ahern, said there are approximately 47 Chamaecyparis evergreen trees located to the left of the Ballyspillane entrance which form part of the natural environment of the locality and the council had previously removed the undergrowth and low-hanging branches surrounding the base of the trees.
He said council officials will raise the matter at a meeting of the Ballyspillane community inter-agency committee in February.
A CCTV system is also planned for the Ballyspillane area and efforts will be made to include the area where the trees are located.