Gorey residents call for action on anti-social behaviour in Esmonde Lane making their lives hell

Gorey residents call for action on anti-social behaviour in Esmonde Lane making their lives hell

An “impromptu emergency meeting” was convened by homeowners living near Esmonde Lane last week as they called for the authorities to take action on the anti-social behaviour, littering and noise that has them living in fear in their own homes.

esidents and businessowners from the Esmonde Lane area joined with Senator Malcolm Byrne, District Manager Philip Knight, Wexford County Council’s Environment Warden Clinton Donovan, Gorey Community School Principal Michael Finn and Gardai from Gorey Garda Station to air their fears and frustrations about ongoing issues in Esmonde Lane. Resident Therese-Celine Rowesome said that the meeting was called in response to a situation that she deemed “out of control”.

“The issues at Esmonde Lane start at 8 a.m. and go right through until midnight,” she said. “There are problems with anti-social behaviour, noise, litter and drugs, I’m sorry to say. It’s been witnessed, it’s been seen and it has been reported to An Garda Siochana many times.”

Ms Rowesome lives with a condition called Myasthenia Gravis – a chronic autoimmune, neuromuscular disease that causes weakness in the skeletal muscles. She has had eight cardio versions on her heart and has to receive regular doses of steroids, along with botox injections in her intestine. She said that the ongoing issues in Esmonde Lane are making her already difficult living situation more challenging.

“It’s not fair that someone like me has to deal with this ongoing saga while I’m fighting to stay alive,” she said. “I have carers coming to me five days a week. They have to negotiate their way every morning through the lane and through the litter.”

While she has considered selling her home to move elsewhere, Ms Rowesome doesn’t believe it will be possible to do so.

“It has completely devalued my property. I attempted to sell it months ago but I was told by the estate agent that the value of my house is ridiculous. People like my house but they don’t want to live in this lane,” she said. 

Ms Rowesome called on the Council to carry out regular clean-ups, to put gates at each entry to the lane, to install lighting and to put tarmac on the lane.

One resident spoke of how he had his home windows broken, while having household bins set alight was an issue experienced by another person living in the area.

“I ask my daughter to take a different route home from school. It’s just chaos,” she said. “Most people who live in our estate discourage their children from walking this lane.”

“It’s very difficult for me to get down the lane. Last night, I thought there was a riot going on there,” added a local businesswoman. “It’s just very unsafe.”

Residents were quick to stress that it is not just students participating in the anti-social behaviour.

However, Principal of Gorey Community School Michael Finn committed to playing a part in mitigating issues on the lane. In response to concerns about students loitering in the lane after school, he said he is happy to walk the lane each evening after school.

“My presence itself will have an impact.”

Meanwhile, Garda Sgt Evelyn Reddan and Garda Sinead Garrity spoke about the Gorey Gardai’s commitment to ongoing community policing, and encouraged the residents to call the station any time an issue arises. 

It was noted much of the litter on the lane is vape-related. While suggestions were made to ask the vape shop to clean up the lane, District Manager Philip Knight said that it is not their responsibility.

“With a vape shop, it is different. They’re not creating the litter. The vape shop is there and they have a right to make a living. The legislation is clear that it is the person creating the litter who is responsible for cleaning it up,” he said.

However, Mr Knight suggested that engaging with the shop owners could still be a good idea.

“In Courtown, there was a problem around fast food litter. When we approached the business, they were happy to put out an extra bin to help with the issue.”

Acknowledging Ms Rowesome’s calls for gates to be installed, Mr Knight said that this could make the issue worse. He pointed to Fettitt’s Lane in Wexford town saying that, when gates were installed there, it led to a “lack of permeability”, with Gardai and fire services unable to get in easily should issues arise there.

“This could be an attractive laneway. If we clean up this laneway, we could make it a proper thoroughfare. The more people you have legitimately using the lane, the less scope you have for anti-social behaviour.”

He suggested adding in more lighting and, where possible, CCTV.

The Esmonde Street Regeneration Plan was served up as one potential solution by Mr Knight. While a funding application for €4m by Wexford County Council submitted to the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund was not successful, the CEO of Wexford County Council recently committed €2m to the project.

“The CEO has committed €2m to the regeneration of Esmonde Street. This will certainly do a lot to bring up Esmonde Street in terms of the streetscape. If there was additional funding, we would look at this as an area we would like to develop,” he said.

Ms Rowesome said that she had hoped that the Esmonde Street Regeneration Plan would incorporate the clean-up of Esmonde Lane but, having learned that the funding received was less than expected, wondered whether this was still on the cards.

“The engineer is coming back to us on this soon. We thought we would have €4m and now we have less than expected. That does mean that we had to cut back the wishlist a bit. The preliminary design will be back before the Council at the February meeting. We can contact the engineer to see if he can include this portion of the lane with a view to getting it properly surfaced,” responded Mr Knight.

Speaking after the meeting, Ms Rowesome said that she was “reasonably satisfied that some action was going to be taken”. 

“We’ve to wait and see now.”


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