Residents are living in fear in their own city homesJuly 17, 2012 - 7:00am
BY CIARAN TIERNEY
People are living in terror in their own homes in estates across the city because of a significant increase in anti-social behaviour and intimidation by neighbours, according to Government TD Derek Nolan.
Deputy Nolan claimed yesterday that a “culture of fear” existed in estates, both public and private, across Galway City after receiving an increase in reports of intimidation from constituents at his ‘clinics’ in recent months.
He has come across two cases in recent weeks in which the quality of people’s lives had been “completely undermined” by troublesome neighbours, in private housing estates on either side of the city.
In one case, an elderly couple had decided to put their house of many years up for sale in the face of persistent “low level” intimidation from a family after they complained about teenagers playing in their own front garden. Their family pet was beaten up after they complained to the offending neighbours.
In the second case, a family on the west side of the city reported living in terror of a neighbouring family after witnessing a serious fight in their garden and being ‘blocked in’ to their own home by seven or eight cars at regular intervals.
“My heart goes out to people who are going home at night, afraid to be in their own homes,” he told The Sentinel. “These people only have a sense of hopelessness and they are often afraid to make complaints about their neighbours.
Some people had told him that harassment by neighbours was occurring on a daily basis. Families told him they were at ‘breaking point’ and some felt they would have to move out of their homes in order to get some peace.
“In recent months I have been approached by many families who are miserable and stressed at the anti-social behaviour problem in their area. In some of these cases the problems have been severe, but even low level instances of abuse are problematic because they accumulate to create a sense of intimidation,” he said.
“They are living in a culture of fear and feel that the law is useless to protect them. A person’s home should be a sanctuary where they can relax in after a working day. But for many people their home is a living hell where they must endure loud noise, threatening behaviour, and property damage from neighbours.”
For more, read this week's Connacht Sentinel.