"Shovels, iron bars and criminality": Dungarvan incident condemned

"Shovels, iron bars and criminality": Dungarvan incident condemned

Councillors in West Waterford have moved to condemn repeated incidents of anti-social behaviour in a Dungarvan estate - following on from one particular incident which gathered widespread attention across various platforms.

A video, which shows a number of men involved in a dispute wielding shovels and iron bars, was the subject of condemnation at this month's Dungarvan / Lismore District meeting of Waterford City & County Council.

Gardai confirmed to WLR News that a man was arrested in relation to the said incidents of criminal damage a number of weeks ago, and a file is now being prepared for the Director of Public Prosecutions.

Speaking at today's meeting of the Dungarvan / Lismore District, Cllr. Thomas Phelan (Labour) was among those to condemn the acts, as he called upon the local authority to take a harder stance on damage to Council property, and anti-social behaviour as a whole.


"There have been some very well-publicised - unfortunately, maybe too well-publicised incidents of anti-social behaviour and damage in a particular estate in Dungarvan. Probably everyone here has seen the footage on social media", he conceded.

"It went on, on more than one occasion unfortunately. It's criminality - and I'm wondering will the Council be speaking to the people responsible? These are residents of a Council house, attacking a neighbouring Council house or the people in it. Will we be ensuring that they are prosecuted to the full extent of both criminal law and civil law?", queried Cllr. Phelan.

Cllr. Phelan noted that much of the emergency accommodation provided in West Waterford is designated within the estate in question, and he voiced concern for the safety of those living nearby - given that they are likely to have already been subjected to distressing situations.

"It's the same place where I think we have possibly all of our emergency accommodation. It's a very stressful time for people when they require emergency accommodation - so to put them in a situation where it's a volatile location - do we have any accommodation that might be more suitable to people who are admittedly going through very stressful situations?"


His sentiments were echoed by Fine Gael Councillor Damien Geoghegan. Cllr. Geoghegan strongly condemned the acts which were widely shared on video - as he lamented that these type of incidents have become commonplace in recent summers.

"My question is what action is being taken to deal with our own Council tenants who engage in anti-social behaviour and criminality?", he asked. "It is on foot of what we all witnessed ourselves - we have all seen the videos circulating on WhatsApp and on social media."

"Everybody enjoys the summer - everybody looks forward to the long evenings and we've just come through a great weekend where the weather was nice again, but the one negative for me as a councillor, is that every summer - anti-social behaviour goes through the roof!".

Cllr. Geoghegan described the behaviour as unacceptable and said that the local authority have a duty to take action, as law-abiding citizens living within the same estate shouldn't have to suffer on account of others.

"All of us councillors are inundated with complaints - you get those videos. Like, there was shovels being used to break windows and break doors. Iron bars were being thrown through windows - like, what is going to happen those people? They're tenants of ours. They've attacked other people's houses - who pays for that damage? Are people just going to walk away scot free?", he questioned.

"You'd be contacted by people - law abiding people who live in those estates and those streets, and they want to get out. They want transfers because they feel trapped there. I don't think it's good enough that it will just quieten down, that we'll all move on and just wait for the next episode", concluded Cllr. Geoghegan.

Paul Johnston, Senior Resident Engineer with Waterford Council noted the concerns. He said that he could only describe the incidents as shocking in both a personal and professional capacity.

"I can assure you that any avenues or options available to the Council to resolve both the issues and the causing of damage - they will be utilised."