People, especially elderly people, are afraid to walk down the main street of Castlebar because of the intimidating/threatening behavior of individuals and groups of young people, taking over the streets of the county town. That’s according to Castlebar Independent councillor Michael Kilcoyne.

The councillor highlighted his concerns at yesterday’s monthly meeting of Mayo County Council and called for a greater garda presence on the streets until the matter is dealt with.

He also called for the Joint Policing Committee (JPC), a committee made up of gardai, councillors, council officials and local community representatives to become operational as quickly as possible.

The cllr insists that the JPC needs to be in place as soon as possible to give cllrs an opportunity to outline directly to the gardai their fears and concerns and experiences, as told to them by constituents.

He then went on to describe what he termed “the intimidation” imposed on the general public, often the elderly, when walking up or down the Main st of Castlebar – “they are met with “gangs of youth”- male and female, who refuse to give way on the footpath, resulting in the elderly person being forced to step off the footpath on to the street to get by.

It is not acceptable and needs to be addressed. Traders, shoppers and visitors are all afraid of these gangs”, he explained.

He outlined the bullying and attacks that are occurring in local authority playgrounds in the town on a regular basis – by what he termed “groups of youths.

He said on Saturday, a woman contacted him, after her teenage niece and nephew visiting from Chicago were “assaulted” in the Castlebar Town Playground area by a group of these youths.

The CEO of MCC Peter Hynes told the councillor that the JPC should be reconvened in September.

Speaking to Midwest News today councillor Kilcoyne said there has to be additional gardai put on the streets of Castlebar to control and stamp out what’s happening.

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