Dublin housing residents protest rampant anti-social behaviour


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Older residents in a Dublin housing complex are living in fear of getting hurt or killed because of growing violent harassment. Killarney Court, near Connolly Station on Buckingham Street and managed by Clúid Housing, is in the city’s north inner area.

The complex was once a tight-knit community where neighbours supported each other and shared a strong bond. However, rising security concerns adversely affect their physical and mental well-being. According to resident Audrey Clail, the environment cherished for its upbeat atmosphere has unfortunately deteriorated into a living hell.

Residents protest for complex security

Many residents, led by Clail, are organizing a day-long protest this Friday to highlight their growing fears of intimidation and vandalism in the complex. They believe protesting is the only way to push Clúid to reinstate a physical security presence. Security patrols were stopped in September 2022 after many younger residents opposed them due to the costs. However, a recent petition by Clail shows that residents now overwhelmingly support the need for security, as incidents of vandalism and intimidation have significantly increased.

Young boys and men, spanning various age groups such as 10 to 16, 16 to 20, and even older, are causing chaos by getting through a security gate that closes far too slowly. This allows potentially 100 people to access the complex simultaneously. Once inside, they wreak havoc in the courtyard, enter inner doors, shatter windows, and ruin communal spaces, including library doors.

The perpetrators have also resorted to banging on apartment doors, hurling verbal abuse, and terrifying the residents. As a desperate measure, many have placed chairs under their door handles to prevent break-ins. In an alarming incident, an older man almost 90 years old had water thrown over him, leaving him deeply fearful. Additionally, residents have suffered physical attacks, including being struck with various types of food.

According to Clail, this unacceptable behaviour occurs day and night, leaving residents feeling too intimidated to step outside their doors alone. She described multiple incidents where they discovered various males—young and old—occupying the communal lounge, engaging in activities like drinking, using drugs, eating, or other misconduct.

Clail previously attempted to confront and expel them on her own but no longer feels safe doing so. The prevalent fear among residents is that someone may either suffer severe harm or discover one of these youths dead from an overdose in the communal spaces.

The three-story building houses 102 people. Younger families and individuals reside in one section, while another area is designated for older residents. Some senior citizens have called this place home for nearly two decades.

Notably, many are almost 90 years old and use wheelchairs for mobility. Among them is 78-year-old Paddy Hansard, who endured a severe attack in Ballybough four years ago, leading to an extended hospital stay.

Councilor advocates for security return

Independent councillor Christy Burke, who is running in the upcoming local elections, has been a strong proponent for bringing back security at Killarney Court after it was discontinued. Burke highlights the critical nature of the situation, pointing out that the community has suffered from antisocial behaviour and threats for an extended period.

Previously, residents paid €10.50 per week for the necessary security, with Clúid—a charity focused on providing and managing homes for those in need across the country—covering the remaining costs.

Karin Ahlers, a 73-year-old resident of the Dublin housing complex, has been living alone for six years. Originally hailing from Hamburg, Germany, she relocated to Ireland two decades ago to be near her son after her husband’s death.

During the May bank holiday, Ahlers endured a terrifying encounter with two young males who threatened her with rape and sexual assault, claiming they knew her address. This incident has instilled such fear in Ahlers that her son now refrains from bringing her grandson to visit, concerned for their safety.

Brian Carroll, an 80-year-old resident, voiced his distress over the current circumstances. He shared how the community primarily desires physical security to deter the youths from infiltrating the complex. Simply informing them about CCTV installations or that Clúid representatives monitor the area through phone apps fails to prevent the intruders from causing intimidation.

The residents are prepared to bear the cost necessary to ensure a security presence to protect them. Despite Clúid’s assurances that they are negotiating with security companies, Carroll emphasized that this process should not take two years.

Clúid has reiterated its dedication to maintaining the safety and security of all its residents. The organization stated that it collaborates frequently with An Garda Síochána on various issues, including providing CCTV footage and maintaining a comprehensive log of antisocial behaviour incidents.

Although Clúid acknowledged instances of antisocial behaviour and trespassing at its Killarney Court scheme in Dublin 1, it stressed that there have been no reports of violence or assault in 2024. Furthermore, Clúid confirmed that, to their knowledge, no such incidents have been reported to An Garda Síochána.

Clúid has implemented several measures to bolster security at the entrance to the Killarney Court development, including installing advanced security features. They consistently remind residents to close doors securely and prevent unauthorized individuals from tailgating into the building. Although Clúid claims that no reports of assaults or incidents have been received this year, the residents firmly disagree with this assertion.

Clail, who meticulously records each instance of violence and intimidation throughout the year, notes that residents have lodged 50 complaints. Moreover, they have sought help from the Garda stations at Mountjoy and Store Street. Although Gardaí and representatives from Clúid conduct patrols and respond when possible, they frequently arrive post-incident.

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