GARDAÍ ARE INVESTIGATING further criminal damage to a building site in Clondalkin that has previously shut down for a time because of intimidation and vandalism.
Last month, construction work stopped on the sixty-three homes that are being built on a site near St Cuthbert’s Park. At the time, local councillor Mark Ward, the Mayor of South Dublin, said anti-social behaviour, including drug dealing, in the park was “well documented”.
“Workers are the subject of threats and intimidation. Their cars have also been vandalised. Tools have been stolen and there have been reports of deliberate arson on the building site,” he said at the time.
At the end of November it was announced that work at the development would resume after a number of commitments were made by South Dublin County Council and the local garda station. CCTV cameras have been installed around the park and there is also increased security.
Despite these measures, there were two incidents of criminal damage around the site last weekend.
A garda spokesperson confirmed to TheJournal.ie that they are investigating an incident of criminal damage which occurred shortly after midnight on 1 December at the building site.
“JCB machinery was damaged by the fire in the incident.” It is understood there was extensive damage to the machinery.
They also confirmed there was a small fire in a new-build house at Lealand Avenue at 11.30pm Sunday night. The fire was quickly extinguished and gardaí said there were only minor damages to the house.
No arrests in connection with either of these incidents have been made and the investigations are ongoing.
Mark Ward told TheJournal.ie that aside from these two incidents, there has been a noticeable improvement in the situation. He said the council had also cut back overgrown hedges and bushes in the park to stop people gathering in that area.
“These are minor incidents compared to what was going on beforehand. Things have been a lot quieter. The gardaí committed all of the resources necessary to combat the problem, not just around the construction site but in the whole area.
I’ve had phonecalls from residents to say they’ve been able to bring their dogs out for a walk in the park, which is something they haven’t felt able to to in a long while because of the anti-social behaviour. It is making a difference to people’s lives.
He said the local football team is also looking to start using the park again.
Ward said the issues around the construction site are “only a symptom of the wider issues in the area”.
“The area has been neglected for years. Now that the resources have been put in you can see the difference around the wider area. People are starting to talk about how nice it would be to put a playground in the park, before they would have just thought that would attract anti-social behaviour.”