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Rise in Athboy antisocial behaviour sparks local concerns

Story by Noelle Finegan

Tuesday, 29th April, 2014 4:31pm

Rise in Athboy antisocial behaviour sparks local concerns

Smoke damage caused to the exterior of St James' Church of Ireland, Athboy.

Concerns have been raised about escalating incidents of antisocial behaviour in Athboy following a number of incidents of arson in the past two weeks.
Trim Fire Service has been called to five arson incidents in the town over the past two weeks, with four of them occurring at the old cemetery behind St James’s Church of Ireland.
The latest incident involved a car which was set on fire in the cemetery on Friday night/early hours of Saturday morning. On the previous night, Trim Fire Service was called to the scene after wheelie bins which had been taken from busineses in the town were set on fire against the church wall. In fact, firefighters attended twice that night - once on Thursday night and a second time in the early hours of Friday morning.
On Wednesday of last week, they attended another incident in the cemetery where material was again set on fire, while the previous week, firefighters attended a fire at the farmers’ market in Athboy where a storage area was broken into and items stored there were burned.
Gardai are investigating the incidents and say they will be keeping a close eye on Athboy over the weekend.
David Douglas, secretary of the St James’s Church Committee, said drinking parties and litter have been a constant problem in the cemetery but in the last week or two, “things have really got out of hand”.
Regarding the wheelie bin incident, he said they were very lucky that the roof of the church didn’t go on fire and that the flames had been quite high. The fire has resulted in smoke damage to the exterior of the church.
Meanwhile, local election candidate David Gilroy said he is concerned about the recent escalation of antisocial behaviour in the area.
He said it has become much more serious in recent weeks and a meeting will take place this Wednesday evening, 30th April, to discuss the matter.
Mr Gilroy said the Church of Ireland is a very historic building and if the fire had been a few feet to one side, substantial damage would have been caused to a window.
He said the nature of what has been going on has changed and become much more serious in the past two weeks.
Local people are being encouraged to report any antisocial behaviour to gardai. Mr Gilroy said gardai are anxious to work with the community to stamp out the antisocial behaviour.

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