Residents concerned after youth set on fire

by Gazette Reporter

RESIDENTS around the Clarinda Park area of Dun Laoghaire have expressed concern over recent anti-social behaviour which resulted in a youth catching fire.
People living in the area reported the anti-social behaviour, which involved young men playing with lighter fuel, to a local Fianna Fail area representative.
James McCann said he had redirected residents’ complaints to the Garda Siochana and was assured the area would be monitored closely.
He said: “I have spoken to a number of residents about this issue and it’s clear it has been ongoing for some time and needs to be tackled.
“Many residents are afraid to use the green area at night out of fear of their own safety, and it cannot be tolerated.”
A resident of Clarinda Park House, who witnessed the recent event which resulted in one of a group of youths catching fire, spoke to The Gazette about what he saw.
He said: “There were a group of about six to eight young kids from 15 to 17 years old who were jumping with skateboards in Clarinda Park and messing; obviously bored.
“I was walking through the green with my girlfriend, and we had to pass by them. I heard one of them say: ‘Do a V’, and another sprayed lighter fuel on a young man.
“Then they shouted: ‘Go for it’, and the boy’s jumper just went up [in flames]. Then they all shouted: ‘Stop it, stop it’ and patted him down, putting the fire out.
“I just lost it; I went for them. I mean, how bored do you have to be to set yourself on fire?
“My girlfriend went mental, too, asking them were they on drugs. They set off, calling her names as they went, so they were all right [including the fire victim],” he said.
“I called the guards and they told me they could see the gang. They were about 50m ahead of me, walking off; I reckon [gardai] had them on camera.
“Once they turned onto Glenageary Road, the guards could see them on the camera at The People’s Park, and told me they were the same ones that had been causing trouble before.
“There have been no incidences since that, now that the guards are monitoring things.
“We’ve had problems here with drinking and littering since the sun came out this summer,” said the resident.
Garda Superintendent Martin Fitzgerald, of Dun Laoghaire Garda Station, told The Gazette: “Timely reporting by residents is an essential element in addressing this issue.
“We rely on the eyes and ears of the public, now more than ever, and that has been very successful and will continue to be.
“I want to stress that people should call the gardai with these matters of anti-social behaviour as soon as possible, to get a speedy response going.
“There are pockets of anti-social behaviour that emerge from time to time, and we keep reviewing things. It will not be tolerated.
“That’s the nature of public disorder, and we cannot be everywhere, so, therefore, we rely on the public.
“We work very well with public representatives of all parties, and people often go to them with such issues first, and that creates a time lapse.
“The public should pick up the phone and call the gardai first, in confidentiality, at 01 666 5000,” said Supt Fitzgerald.

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