Anti-social behaviour has gone "out of control" in some housing estates in Galway city, "particularly on the east side" of the city, and there is an urgent need for enforcement of rules and support for families.
This is the view of Independent Galway City East councillor, Declan McDonnell, who has called on the Galway City Council to become "more proactive" in tacking anti-social behaviour. He said the main issues are to do with rubbish dumping, horses, and trading of scrap.
Cllr McDonnell is calling for more Tenant Liaison Officers to "work directly with local communities" and flag potential problems "before they get out of hand".
'There’s little or no supports going into these estates at the moment as far as I can see. We need to work with these families to sort out the problems, because all estates need time to settle'
Currently there are three Tenant Liaison Officers employed by the City Hall to cover 2,600 houses under the local authority control.“ By contrast, Co-op Ireland, one of the voluntary bodies providing social housing, has one tenant liaison officer for 200 units in Galway and Roscommon, while the council has one per 800/900.
“Council officials are doing their best, but they are being overworked, and the situation can’t be resolved until they get more supports," said Cllr McDonnell, who also wants to see bodies like Tüsla playing a greater role.
He said a key problem was the lack of enforcement of the rules of the tenants’ handbook which sets down rules for those living in council houses. "Until we get enforcement, we are not going to sort out anti-social behaviour," he said.
Supports needed for families
However, Cllr McDonnell said there was also a need to provide supports for families and "alternative activities for the youngsters". He cited the example of problem estates in Dublin, where interventions that had worked successfully included the involvement of Gardaí and regional sports officers from the FAI "organising football activities into the evenings to keep local children occupied".
“We could do something similar in Galway," he said. "We provide financial support for both an FAI and an IRFU sports officer and they could get involved, along with the Gardaí, in providing activities. There’s little or no supports going into these estates at the moment as far as I can see. We need to work with these families to sort out the problems, because all estates need time to settle."