Garda operation gets workers back on site

By Maurice Garvey

A MAJOR garda operation was instrumental in getting workers back on a housing development in Clondalkin after it stopped earlier this month.

Contractors Sisk were forced off the site for 63 social houses at St Cuthbert’s Park, following reports of intimidation, theft of tools, vandalism of workers’ cars, and late-night arson attacks.

St Cuthberts Park04 LIZ

The building site in Clondalkin

Speaking at a joint policing meeting in South Dublin County Council last week, senior gardai from the district said they were doing what they had to do, to get the site back up and running.

This included increased patrols in the area, both uniformed and plain clothes, with resources deemed “not an issue”.

Regarding much of the anti-social activity plaguing the site, gardai acknowledge children are often put out to cause trouble by “bigger fish”.

Long-awaited CCTV cameras were subsequently installed at the site, which are linked in with Ronanstown and Clondalkin garda stations.

Mayor of South Dublin County Mark Ward, a long-time campaigner on the problems affecting St Cuthbert’s, said residents were relieved to see gardai flush out some of the trouble-makers.

“The situation was a hell of a lot better this week than it was last week,” said Mayor Ward, who secured funding for CCTV in the park almost two years ago.

“It had escalated and moved into a different territory. There were times when they locked SDCC staff in the park and threatened them. There is open drug-dealing on scramblers and ongoing anti-social problems.

"Residents feel abandoned, but felt they could breathe again this week due to the increased garda presence.”

After workers were forced off the development, the site contractor, gardai and SDCC agreed on a range of measures to tackle the situation, including round-the-clock security.

On Friday, November 23, SDCC carried out hedge-cutting and pruning works to expose trouble hotspots in the vicinity.

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