Gangs of youths target senior citizens at complex

By Maurice Garvey

GANGS of youths are making life uncomfortable for senior citizens living in an elderly complex in Ballyfermot.

Residents at Fr Lemass Court, beside the Assumption Church, are often intimidated and verbally abused by youths, who regularly break into the complex.

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Fr Lemass Court in Ballyfermot

Dublin City Council recently installed a gate on the church side, to prevent intruders climbing in, but nimble youths can easily scale walls and gates via the church grounds.

Opened in 2017, Fr Lemass Court has 32 units.

None of the residents that The Echo spoke to on Wednesday morning wanted to give their name for fear of being targeted by thugs.

“You can’t say anything to them, and what can you do anyway when there a five of them and you are an 80-year-old,” said one Fr Lemass Ct. resident.

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Recently installed gate on the church side

“I did go out to the corridor once but they told me to ‘shut up, fat man’. It’s not so bad for me, but I feel bad for the women, and people in wheelchairs – they are very vulnerable. Some are too afraid to leave the building.”

Residents say youths regularly drink and smoke in the church grounds, or at the laneway on Colepark Drive, behind the shops, making noise late at night and leaving a mess behind for others to clean up.

“The guards came down one time for about a week to move them off, but that’s about it, there is no policing,” said another resident.

“Sometimes the kids press all the door bells at the front of the building, and hope someone lets them in. But if you ask them who are they here to see, you get cursed at.”

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Interior of the Fr Lemass Court complex

The issue of youths hanging out in large gangs has affected Ballyfermot significantly over the last couple of years – particularly when it comes to intimidation of women and elderly people.

 “When I walk to the shops, I stay off the main footpath to avoid them. It’s a nice place to live here, except for this stuff. Hopefully the council take some action and make it harder for them to get in.”

A spokesperson for DCC said: “Dublin City Council installed a railing on one of the balconies after receiving reports from residents that some youths were gaining entry to the complex.  There have since been no further complaints.

“The complex has CCTV which is linked to the Garda Station and Dublin City Council has no further plans to increase security.”

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