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Wednesday, 13th October 2021

Strong Garda presence promised for Ballsgrove this Halloween

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Flashback to 2018 - a burnt out car on the Green in Ballsgrove after it was driven on to a Halloween bonfire.

Councillor Paddy McQuillan has been given a commitment by Chief Superintendent Christy Mangan that there will be a “very strong Garda presence” in Ballsgrove this Halloween to prevent a recurrence of the serious anti social behaviour of previous years.

Councillor McQuillan raised the topic at Monday’s Joint Policing Committee meeting when he asked for extra Gardaí in the run up to Halloween and on the night itself following last year’s disgraceful scenes on Ballsgrove Green.

“Last year saw unprecedented scenes of anti-social behaviour where people’s property and homes were damaged and residents were assaulted and left in need of medical treatment” he told Monday night’s JPC meeting.

“They’re in a very sticky situation, they’re afraid to leave their homes on Halloween night but they’re also afraid to stay.

“The resident have told me that they would love to see additional Garda resources, visible for the duration of the day.

Councillor Fiachra Mac Raghnaill said that the custom of lighting fires at Halloween goes back thousands of years and was not going to die out simply by asking people to stop.

He suggested it might be a better idea to have several organised bonfires which could be controlled better in terms of anti-social behaviour.

Mayor James Byrne said that property owners were actually leaving out pallets to be taken by youngsters for their bonfires because it saves them the cost of disposing of them.

Superintendent Andrew Watters said that An Garda Siochana will have people to work with the local authority to get these stockpiles removed before Halloween night.

He said that organised bonfires and fireworks displays certainly could hep in reducing potential anti-social behaviour and other problems for the community and that there may be merit in the idea

“Community policing Unit have a very specific brief whereby businesses that are identified as  leaving out material for bonfires  we will be visiting them and taking very firm action against them” he said.


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