Groups of teenagers, predominantly aged between 15 and 18 years, were reported to be ‘running riot’ in the estate, particularly on the green opposite Clodagh Road. And a local councillor who resides in the area is fearful that some residents are so exasperated with the situation that they may take the law into their own hands to remove the youths from the green. Cllr Cha O’Neill described as ‘sickening’ the sight that greeted himself and his neighbours on Monday morning. “The green was destroyed with syringes, broken bottles and needles, some of them sticking up out of the grass so that you’d barely see them. It was a death trap. You couldn’t possibly leave a child out to play.”
Ger Kenny, another local resident, said one mother had been alerted to the mess when her young child picked up a needle and brought it home to her.
“Some of the needles were empty, others had some sort of substance in them. It doesn’t bear thinking about if a child had stuck one of the needles in themselves.” Garda testing on the substance removed from the green later revealed that it contained some form of alcopop, which the youths were most likely spraying around in the syringes.
Anxious that all the needles were cleaned up before their young children returned home from school in the early afternoon, a group of about ten Avondale neighbours commenced their own clean-up of the green on Monday morning. The operation was later taken over by the City Council’s road sweeper, with local children being warned to stay away from the green and play on the footpath outside their homes on Monday night.
However the issue is an ongoing one, made all the more pressing by the fact primary school children will be on holidays by the end of the month – and parents will have no comfort letting them out to play.
Gangs of youths are ‘hanging around’ on the green at night, according to Mrs Kenny. They also converge in the vicinity of the former Raytex factory nearby. Though the residents have acknowledged that a small number of these youths live on the Avondale estate, they say the majority of them do not.
“Many of the residents are constantly calling the gardai but no sooner have they come out and moved the youths on then they’re back again. We need a constant garda presence in the area but the gardai simply don’t have the resources to provide this. They’re doing everything they can and send a car out anytime we ring them but we just don’t know what else to do.”