Notes from the Canvass – Anti Social Behaviour

The issue of anti-social behaviour continues to be of real concern to people and if anything it is something that has gotten worse. It affects private estates, local authority estates, apartment complexes and shopping areas. At its worst people feel intimidated and helpless as its clear existing legislation and indeed measures aimed at tackling the issue are both ineffective and implemented in an ad hoc manner.

As someone who lives in an apartment complex I have direct experience of how anti-social behaviour can poison the atmosphere and really affect the quality of life for people. However what apartments have is a clear legal framework for dealing with such behaviour. The owner of the apartment is bound by a lease which includes specific house rules such as noise and parties. The implementation of these rules is often difficult. However two years ago I addressed this in my own complex as I proposed a system of fines for breaches of rules. Initially ran as a pilot it is now established as it resulted in a dramatic decrease in anti social behaviour. It was effective because residents, landlords and tenants all benefited. Those who chose to abuse their neighbours were hit with fines.

It is more difficult in regular housing estates in particular private housing. Noise, all night parties, houses being allowed fall apart, litter and intimidation can affect the quality of life of people. While recourse to the Gardai is often and understandably the first response to this, people often find that the Gardai are powerless to tackle this type of behaviour.

Government and Local Authorities need to examine the existing legislation aimed at tackling this and come up with a new approach which will act as a proper deterrent. In cases where its a tenant causing the problem there needs to be a mechanism where landlords can be held to account.

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