There was a disappointing turnout for the latest Community Alert meeting which took place on Thursday 24th September. Just ten dwellings and one business were represented.
Despite the poor response, the tone of the meeting was generally upbeat and Garda Niall Sheridan was on hand to respond to the issues raised.
- In his summary, Garda Sheridan advised that he and his colleagues were investigating a few local issues, including some alleged incidents of anti-social behaviour by youths in the area. He appealed to those present (and the community in general) to continue to report any behaviour that concerned them to the local unit with as much information as possible. Personal descriptions can help identify the perpetrators and suitable action can then be taken.
- Some of the alleged antisocial behaviour reported to gardai has been carried out by children under the age of ten. Such behaviour has included damage to property, trespass and the intimidation of vulnerable residents. Again, please report any such behaviour to gardai and the parents of those responsible will be contacted. Parents are also reminded of their responsibilities and to be aware of where their children are at all times.
- Niall drew attention to a leaflet on “Personal Safety for the Older Person” – a copy of which can be downloaded below. A number of the points contained within the leaflet should be considered by all ages. Simple things such as using a door chain to provide added protection when answering the door, entering garda contact numbers on speed dial and giving clear directions to gardai when calling them can help improve general security.
- People should now be aware that car lock blocking devices are being used to block the remote locking devices on vehicles. Always be aware of who is around you when at your car and ensure that it is locked securely before leaving it.
- A card was distributed during the meeting which would allow an elderly person to slide it through their letterbox in the event of a stranger calling. The card invites the caller to enter their details on it and then pop it back through the letterbox. The resident can then make any checks they wish and get in contact with the caller if they require their services later. Copies of this card are available from the local garda station.
Following a contract change, a new phone is to be acquired for the distribution of text messages and alerts. Further details will be issued in due course.
In response to the disappointing turnout, a newsletter will be prepared for circulation to local homes and businesses.
Damage to Signs
A number of signs purchased by the Community Alert group have been interfered with or vandalised. These signs cost €60 and residents are asked to report any damage to signs to local garda.
Despite repeated requests for Westmeath County Council and the NRA to address safety concerns pertaining to the pedestrian crossing, officers have failed to take any action. A number of locals have reported near misses on the crossing, between vehicles ignoring the crossing or speeding and failing to stop in time.
The committee is calling on the council to install a proper traffic light and challenges the response to previous requests that this cannot happen on a national route, by pointing to other villages on the same route that do have full traffic lights!
A meeting will be held in October and details will follow shortly. It is hoped that there will be a better turnout for this.