‘Night of hell’ as angry residents outraged at anti-social behaviour

By Aimee Walsh

RESIDENTS experienced a “night of hell” as a large group congregated at a local park to start fires, take drugs and engage in anti-social behaviour.

Local residents have been left outraged and concerned as anti-social behaviour has increased significantly in Dodder Valley Park.

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Some of the alcohol bottles and drugs paraphernalia found in the park the day after

As reported in The Echo previously, there has been increased concern as large groups have been congregating at the Dodder Park Pavilion at Old Bawn and engaging in anti-social behaviour which turned this area into a “no-go zone” after it gets dark.

A resident from a near-by estate said that they usually encounter the late-night drinking, but on the night of March 30 it was “out of control” as it was a day of nice weather.

The resident told The Echo, “from 7pm, gangs started to congregate, and by 10pm there was around 70 or more people, aged between 15 and early 20s.

“Small gangs of youths, three to five at a time took turns of raiding the cul-de-sac along the park and stealing bins and setting them on fire and our 75-year-old neighbour was virtually assaulted and his bin pulled from his hands by three masked young lads as he tried to save it.

“We are here 15 years, so the bins on fire is a regular occurrence but in the last six months it has gotten worse and worse.

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Empty beer bottles and boxes

“We all enjoy the park, and we love using it, but when it gets dark it becomes a ‘crazy house’ - it is complete madness.

“This was the worst I had ever seen it. There were young lads with their faces covered up running into gardens and pulling bins out.

“The guards told us there is nothing they could do and that they were sorry, but it seemed to be the same all over Dublin on this particular night and that they had no public service unit on duty.

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Drugs paraphernalia on the pavement in the park

“Two Gardai arrived about 40 minutes later, a young girl and a guy and they looked no more than 20 or 21 and were too intimidated to go over to the gang. The two young guards who were very helpful and apologetic told us that they didn’t have any support and no public order unit on duty.”

According to the resident, three detectives arrived 20 minutes later, and the gang dispersed but within 10 minutes had returned.

In a statement to The Echo, the Gardai said: “Gardai responded to reports of an incident at Dodder Valley park shortly after 9pm on Tuesday 30th March 2021. Upon arrival no individuals present, no offences disclosed.”

Amongst the cans, bottles and litter left by the gang were “thousands” of canisters of nitrous oxide, commonly known as ‘silver bullets’ usually used by some young people to get a temporary high.

“I don’t fully believe that society, the general population or parents fully know what is going on because it is not being spoken about and I don’t think the level of use is fully appreciated and it has only become apparent to me in the last six to eight months.

 “I go out on a Sunday across to the field to see what state it is in and there are thousands of these canisters. For 60-100 people, there is about 20,000 canisters scattered across the field – it is serious.”

According to the local resident, The Dodder Valley Park Pavilion at Old Bawn, which was completed in 2019, is a “haunt” for groups to congregate at every night of the week.

“It is just left sitting there with lights on and no security or anything. It cost a fortune, built over two years and nobody has used it or been invited to do so.”

“When South Dublin County Council called a public meeting the residents who understand the problems faced in our park, made it clear that this building would cause all sorts of madness and that has turned out to be true.

“It doesn’t serve the local population because we are not allowed to use and it and now it is just used for people hanging around it, lighting fires around it and nobody wanted it. If you knock around to any of the houses near the park, they will tell you the same.”

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