Residents of Dublin housing complex protest against anti-social behavior – The Irish Times

The threat of someone being seriously injured or killed due to violent harassment has dozens of elderly residents of a Dublin housing project on edge.

Killarney Court, on Buckingham Street near Connolly Station, managed by Clúid Housing, is in the heart of the city’s north centre.

It is a community full of camaraderie where residents help and care for each other, but now concerns about their safety are causing “their physical and mental health to decline and what was once such a special and happy living space “Now it’s turning into hell.” ” says resident Audrey Clail.

Clail, along with many other residents, believes that a day-long protest at the complex on Friday, highlighting their fear of intimidation and vandalism at the complex, is the only way to get Clúid to re-establish a presence of physical security.

Safety patrols ended in September 2022 after a vote indicated many younger residents did not want them due to cost. However, residents now agree that security must be restored as vandalism and physical intimidation have “increased tenfold”, according to a petition organized by Clail.

“There are so many age groups of kids from 10 to 16, 16 to 20 and older that now enter through a security gate, which closes so slowly that 100 people could enter the complex at one time.” says Clail.

“When they enter the complex, they run like crazy in the courtyard, enter through interior doors, break windows, destroy the common area and break a library door. In the past, they have banged on apartment doors, terrorizing us with all kinds of insults, and numerous residents have placed chairs under the door handles to try to prevent them from entering. A man in his late 90s had water thrown at him, leaving him terrified. Others have been hit by all kinds of food.”

Clail says this has been happening day and night, meaning residents feel intimidated to leave their doors alone.

“We have entered the community room on numerous occasions and children, young people and men of all ages have been there, drinking, using drugs, eating or doing whatever. I used to go down there alone trying to get them out, but now I won’t go down there alone. “We are all afraid that one of us will be seriously injured or killed or that we will find one of the young people dead from an overdose within the common areas.”

The three-story complex houses 102 people, younger families and single people in one area and older residents in another.

The oldest residents are in their late 90s and some are wheelchair users.

Many have lived in the complex for up to 20 years. Among them is Paddy Hansard (78), who was violently attacked outside his former home in Ballybough almost four years ago. The attack left him in the hospital for several months.

“After all, I came here looking for peace of mind in my life and I am very grateful to be here, but bullying is not pleasant at all,” Hansard says.

The outgoing independent councilor for the area, Christy Burke, has been pushing for security to be restored since she stepped down. “Security must be provided at Killarney Court as anti-social behavior and threats have gone on for too long.”

The cost of security was €10.50 per week per resident, with the remainder paid for by Clúid, an independent charity that works to deliver and manage homes for those in need of housing across the country.

Karin Ahlers (73), who has lived alone in the complex for six years, is originally from Hamburg, Germany. She moved to Ireland 20 years ago after her husband died, because her son lived here.

During the May bank holiday, Ahlers was threatened by “two young men that they would rape and sexually assault me”. They said they knew where he lived. “My son doesn’t even want to bring my grandson here to see me because he’s afraid of what might happen.

“We all love our apartments and the bright, garden-filled courtyard, where we felt safe until two years ago.”

Brian Carroll (80) was visibly upset when talking about the situation. “The only thing we want is physical security to scare away the young people who come in here. It is no use telling us that there is CCTV installed or that Clúid representatives have applications on their phones monitoring the complex; That doesn’t stop (intruders) from intimidating us and coming in here.

“We are willing to pay whatever it takes to have a physical presence here remember us. Clúid meets with us and tells us that it is difficult to obtain security and that they are in negotiations with the companies… but that cannot take two years.”

In a statement, Clúid said it took the safety of all residents very seriously. “We regularly communicate with An Garda Síochána and co-operate with them in many areas, including the provision of CCTV footage. We also keep a record of any incidents of anti-social behaviour.

“We are aware of incidents of anti-social behavior at our scheme in Killarney Court, Dublin 1, including incidents of housebreaking. “We have not received any reports of violence or assault occurring in 2024. To the best of our knowledge, no such incidents have been reported to An Garda Síochána.”

Clúid added that it had also installed enhanced security mechanisms at the entrance to the Killarney Court development. He periodically reminds residents to make sure doors are closed securely and that no unauthorized person has followed them.

However, neighbors question that Clúid has not received any complaints this year for attacks and incidents. Clail, who has an inventory of violent and intimidating events this year alone, says residents have filed “50 complaints.”

“We have also been in contact with Mountjoy and Store Street Garda Stations who carry out patrols when they can and come here when there is violence, as have Clúid representatives, but it is always after any incident has occurred.”

In a statement, Gardaí said they were aware of security issues at Killarney Court and were proactively patrolling and monitoring the area.

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