Eoghan Dalton reports
The site of a vacant pub in Ferrybank has become the setting of violent illegal boxing matches, according to a City Councillor. It became apparent last Wednesday night when residents in the area realised a group of men had gathered and an “unprecedented level of violence had occurred” in the carpark of Flynn’s pub.
The “staged fights” held there were far beyond the anti-social behaviour that often takes place at vacant sites, said Cllr Eamon Quinlan (FF). “The incident in question occurred last Wednesday night when Gardaí were called to the scene at the rear of Flynn’s to break up an organised fight amongst a large group of men from both Irish and foreign nationalities.
“At this time it remains unclear whether it was an illegal boxing match or a feud between gangs over territory but has marked a worrying proliferation of organised criminal activity into other areas of the city with an apparent sense of acting with impunity.” Gardaí confirmed they are investigating an incident at the scene from last Wednesday night. Cllr Quinlan said the men involved are older men and far from kids: “The people that are there are there to commit violence to one another. This isn’t handbags at dawn.”
The site is currently owned by Waterford City and County Council (WCCC) and the City West Councillor is calling on the local authority to secure the site. He said security fencing and a security company should be deployed to monitor the site and “dissuade those criminal elements who have taken such a shine to the Ferrybank area”.
“The Council should be ashamed of what has been allowed to develop here,” Cllr Quinlan added.
“They are the owner and are responsible for these grounds along with their adjoining premises. To have taken their eye off the ball here so completely has resulted in not only the premises being used as a dumping ground for rubbish, attracting rats and encouraging drug dealing but the latest development, gangs organising boxing matches, fights from feuds on the grounds has added a sense of intimidation and violence to a peaceful, settled area.“Flynn’s Public House has a long history as a staple of the community for decades but was recently closed as the license was sold to another party, while the remaining building was purchased by Waterford City and County Council with a view to transforming it into apartments to address the high demand for housing given many young Ferrybank families inability to purchase properties, often having to move away and losing this important connection to their locality.”
He said Waterford Council has committed to carrying out an investigation of what damage has been caused to the siteFerrybank has been left with a feeling that it “falls between the two counties”, he continued, represented most recently by the area of over 5,000 people not having a single Councillor based there after the Local Elections.“Ferrybank often feels it falls between Waterford and Kilkenny in terms of an attention deficit and these types of problems are only encouraging this sense of abandonment,” he added.
“The community is resolutely committed to ensuring the Council’s shortcomings don’t become their long term status quo. This must be completely nuked from the get-go.”