An ongoing feud between two Dungarvan families has been described as 'brazen criminality' that will 'end up in funerals'.
The matter was broadly discussed at the September meeting of the Dungarvan / Lismore District of Waterford City & County Council.
Sinn Fein Councillor Conor McGuinness described the feud as “brazen criminality” with those involved displaying “absolute disrespect for human life for the people of Dungarvan or for common decency”.
Speaking on Deise Today with Damien Tiernan, Cllr. McGuinness says there has been running battles taking place in the heart of local housing estates.
"It spills over, and it has spilt over in the past, into running battles in housing estates. It spills into homes. Sometimes other people not involved in the feud are caught up in this. There's mistaken identity, there are pursuits and ructions in housing estates that are keeping people awake, putting them in fear - and it's all very unpleasant."
Cllr. McGuinness says those involved are publicly and overtly threatening one another in call-out videos on social media.
Speaking at the meeting, Cllr. McGuinness said that if a member of the Council put out a video where they said they would 'slit someone's throat', they'd be rightly arrested.
"We see people from our neck of the woods, who are publicly, and very overtly, threatening the lives of other people in so-called 'call-out videos'. They are being shared on social media. If you or I, Cathaoirleach, were to threaten to kill somebody, to slit their throat from ear to ear, in any form - we'd be rightly arrested, rightly investigated, and prosecuted and charged for that."
Cllr. McGuinness says the feud doesn't even register as anti-social behaviour anymore, it is simply criminality.
"I don't even like to use the term anti-social behaviour, because this is brazen criminality. It is absolute disrespect for human life, for the people of Dungarvan - and indeed, for common decency in society. It's very worrying. It's horrifying. A lot of people will know the videos that I'm discussing. I think we need to see an end to it, and Garda resources put into tackling this issue.
'Talk of the town'
Cllr. Damien Geoghegan (Fine Gael) says the feud is the talk of the town at present and is impacting lives in a horrible fashion.
"It's been the talk of Dungarvan for the past week. I welcome the fact that senior members of the Gardai and Council staff are actually meeting this afternoon, while we're having this meeting here now. I do think it is something that needs to be addressed. It is every 6-9 months that this particular issue flares up. It is impacting on people's lives in the most horrible fashion."
Cllr. Geoghegan says there are people living in Dungarvan housing estates, whose lives are totally and utterly 'miserable' as a result of the ongoing fighting.
"There are people living in housing estates and their lives are just totally and absolutely utterly miserable. This is because of what they're witnessing, what their families are witnessing. Small children are being woken during the night with cars crashing into one another, windows being put in, people out on the road threatening one another - in a number of areas in Dungarvan."
Cllr. Geoghegan says the feud has also made its way into local schools.
"It's also after making its way into the schools in Dungarvan, where children are being threatened by other children. That's what's happening here. It's raising it's head every couple of months. It's a shocking state of affairs to see two families go at it like that. The impact on other people's lives - they're the people I'm interested in to be quite frank about it. They are the people who are going about their lives and their daily business in the right and correct fashion. Their lives are just horrible because of what is happening."
'There will be funerals'
Cathaoirleach of the District, Cllr. Tom Cronin (Fianna Fail) says that we have been too soft on crime in our local housing estates in Waterford.
"We have been soft on crime within our own housing estates. It's about time that there was a halt brought to this because what is going to happen is - it's going to end up in a case where there will be funerals out of it. That is the sad part. What's worse is that it is an innocent person that could end up being attacked."
Councillors have called for a workshop on the matter in the local Council offices, as opposed to online - as soon as possible.