Athlone greenway behaviour concerns
Anti-social behaviour is deterring some people from using the Athlone to Mullingar Greenway, a local councillor has claimed.
"It's a shame, because it's a fantastic amenity, but there are people who are afraid to walk on the Greenway, especially at night," said Fine Gael's Cllr John Dolan.
"People feel intimidated. One woman told me that she had her dog with her on the Greenway and came across four people who were sitting on it and refused to move,” he continued.
He argued that Gardai should prioritise the installation of CCTV on the Greenway and, in the meantime, there was a need for regular cycle patrols by officers.
Cllr Dolan was speaking at the recent meeting of the Westmeath Joint Policing Committee, which was held in Athlone.
In response to his comments, Athlone Superintendent Shane Cummins said he hadn't heard of such problems arising on the Greenway in recent months.
"Up until last summer there was an issue there and we tackled that with cycle patrols, particularly around school times," he said.
Supt Cummins said his only way of measuring matters that requiring policing on the Greenway was by looking at the number of incidents reported to the Gardai, and this number was very low at present.
"I'm saddened to hear that there have been issues starting again, but there would be a minimal number of crimes on the Greenway that have been reported to the Garda station," he said.
In response to Cllr Dolan's call for regular cycle patrols on the Greenway, he said this was unlikely because of a shortage of policing resources.
"I would love to have a (Garda) bike on that Greenway every day, but the resources we have mean that's not possible," the Athlone superintendent said.
"But if people do experience anti-social behaviour on the Greenway then we'd like to hear about it."