Anti-social behaviour is posing a risk to people using the recently-opened skatepark in the city centre, local councillors have warned.
Councillor John Coonan called for CCTV cameras to be installed in the skatepark at the September meeting of the Kilkenny City Municipal District. Funding for cameras was agreed in 2019 but they have not yet been installed.
“There have been public order incidents and I am looking for CCTV to ensure the health and wellbeing of the people who use it,” he said. He stressed that the skateboarding community were in no way responsible and said that CCTV cameras must be a priority so that the people who use the facility can do so safely.
The issue was also raised at Monday’s Joint Policing Committee meeting.
Funding of €400,000 was allocated for the installation of 21 new cameras in the city in 2019 but to date the new cameras have not been installed.
Mayor Andrew McGuinness said that the anti-social behaviour is by people who do not use the facility.
“It is important that we nip it in the bud, we want the skatepark to be 100% safe.” Inspector Sean O’Meara told the Joint Policing Committee that it would assist gardaí if there were cameras. The inspector said that he wanted to echo that the skateboarders were not responsible.
“I remember similar problems with the handball alleys in Michael Street and The Butts and the people causing the problem were not the handballers.
Chief Superintendent Padraig Dunne agreed that the people using the skatepark are ‘very reliable and honest people partaking in a sport’. Superintendent Derek Hughes said that he had recently visited the skatepark and spoke to the skateboarders whom he described as ‘fine young people’.
The superintendent outlined that there is a CCTV camera planned for St Francis Bridge which would cover the skatepark.
Cllr Andrew McGuinness said that he has spoken to gardaí in relation to the ongoing issues and called for CCTV cameras to be installed.
“I have been down there myself and I have seen the aftermath of drinking sessions but I have also seen young skate boarders clean up the mess that was left by others who don't even use the park. It’s highly unfair on our young skaters who finally have a facility they can call their own, to now have people, many of whom are adults, abusing the skate park and ruining it for everyone.
“I have seen videos of incidents on social media and I know the gardai are doing their best but this has to be stopped now before it gets to a point where people are afraid to use the skate park. It’s a fantastic facility and it is greatly appreciated by our skateboarding community, so we now have to protect it for them and ensure safety is a priority so unfortunately CCTV is an absolute necessity.
“I have spoken to the gardai about it and they have agreed to provide a camera overlooking the park from the bridge. This will be part of the expansion of all our CCTV throughout the city,” he said.
The Mayor also appealed to anyone using the park to report any incidents of anti-social behaviour to gardaí.
“The gardaí acknowledged that the anti-social behaviour was not coming from the skaters who use the park properly and it is important to acknowledge that. It’s a shame to see such a great facility being abused but I’m confident that, working along with the Gardai, we can nip this issue in the bud and make sure the park is a safe amenity for all.
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