A female attack victim has backed high profile appeals by Donegal’s mayor to ramp up security at a Letterkenny town centre gathering spot that has been dubbed a “black hole”.
University student Shanan Reid McDaid (18) was violently assaulted and left with horrific facial injuries in a brutal beating beside Market Square on October 14 past.
She was branded a “sl*t” and a “b**ch” and feared she would die in the attack at the town centre location, off Main Street, and it is now the focus of a top-level Garda probe.
Donegal County Council cathaoirleach (mayor), Cllr Gerry McMonagle, responded to the attack by stepping up a campaign to have extra CCTV and new safety lighting erected there, as well as having the Square’s trees cut back.
Brave Shanna has now emerged from her recovery to come out in support of the campaign.
She told Donegal Now: “I would support that 100 per cent. Having CCTV up there is good, but there needs to be lighting so that the footage shows what is being recorded.
“It’s so dark that the CCTV does always show people’s faces, but with better lighting, that would help.
“Lights might also discourage people from even thinking of carrying out an attack.
“Any measures that would help have to be supported.”
She added: “I think an upgrade of the town’s CCTV, especially in dark areas like Market Square.
“My attack has already happened, but extra CCTV may help someone else in future.”
The trees at Market Square have now been cut back, allowing for a fantastic Christmas light display.
There are around six cameras in total across Letterkenny at locations such as Market Square, Station Roundabout, and Lower Main Street and efforts to increase that total requires an application to the Department of Justice.
Gardai in Letterkenny can only view only a single screen when linked to the town’s CCTV system and it is hoped that a multi-screen system could be introduced as part of a system update.
Sinn Fein Cllr McMonagle recently submitted a motion for lighting improvements to Donegal County Council at the Letterkenny municipal district (MD) meeting in Milford.
He said: “The reason why I am asking for this is because we have had a lot of trouble at the Square down through the years because of a lack of CCTV.
“The area’s in complete darkness. We’re all aware of this. People are drinking and doing other things. It’s a black hole up there.
“My own wife came across a young girl who was struggling to live. She was choking on her own vomit. This is not an isolated incident.”
He added: “The Square is a lovely place, but how do we develop it? We have to get rid of this anomaly and to prevent anti-social behaviour.
“I’m asking that we light up that part of the square.”
Finally, he warned: “This needs to be done sooner, rather than later. We’re now into the winter and the dark evenings.”
His motion was seconded by former Letterkeny mayor Cllr Ciaran Brogan of Fianna Fail
The motion stated: “That we install lighting at the Bandstand at the top of Market Square, Letterkenny.”
The council states in its written response: “This location is one of a number of proposed lighting locations discussed at the workshop November 14, 2017, for prioritisation by members, on the three-year plan.”
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