A Letterkenny councillor has alleged there have been “cover-ups” to conceal anti-social behaviour at the Town Park.
Sinn Fein Cllr Gerry McMonagle was angrily responding to council officials after he called for CCTV cameras to help weed out criminal behaviour at the public park.
His proposal for security cameras follows the “disgusting” discovery last week that human faeces were deliberately smeared inside a children’s flume slide.
His motion was unanimously supported by all eight of the 10 councillors who attended the monthly meeting of Donegal council’s Letterkenny Municipal District on Tuesday past.
Letterkenny mayor, Fianna Fail Cllr James Pat McDaid, said: “CCTV is a must now.”
Independent Cllr Dessie Shiels voiced his support for the motion, which was seconded by Fianna Fail’s Ciaran Brogan, and said CCTV at the park's €25,000 play area must be the council’s “number one priority”.
Cllr Shiels warned that a public park in Co Galway was targeted by criminals who melted razor blades into children’s slides and that CCTV in Letterkenny Town Park would help put culprits in prison.
He said: “This [Letterkenny situation] can spiral and get worse.”
He added: “We don’t want what happened in Galway to happen here.”
Independent Cllr Michael McBride suggested installing “covert cameras”.
A council spokesman told Cllr McMonagle that the council does employ a security company and that it inspects the park three times during the night between the hours of 8.30pm and 7am.
He said: “We recognise the seriousness of what happened and we have spoken to CCTV providers.”
Cllr McMonagle (pictured) told council officials: “I am not making apologies for bringing this motion. This is not an isolated incident, this is a regular occurrence.
“This is not the first time that human excrement was spread in that park.
“We have to wake up and get real.”
He added: “There has been a litany of incidents.”
He claimed that security staff and council workers have reported incidents but that “nothing has happened” and he demanded that the council should make public its costings for installing CCTV because the “safety of people has to be paramount”.
The councillor said: “There have been cover-ups.”
He claimed that the council has examined other issues at the park and discovered other things “but these were kept from the public”.
He directed an instruction to the council spokesman and said: “Identify the funding and let’s get on with it.”
It was claimed that previous suggestions such as increased lighting at the park, and park attendants, or daytime wardens, to patrol the park were rejected.
Cllr McMonagle said: “Nothing has happened.”
He added: “If we can’t afford wardens, we need cameras.”
He warned: “God forbid if a child went down that slide and got a disease. Does the council’s insurance cover that?”
He continued: “There is an onus on us to protect the park’s users. There’s a CCTV in Ballymacool Park [also in Letterkenny], so there’s no reason why we can’t have one in Bernard McGlinchey Town Park.”
Donegal County Council agreed to provide details in response to Cllr McMonagle’s concerns at next month’s meeting of the council’s Letterkenny Municipal District.
This story is from the edition today, Thursday, of Donegal Now's sister publication the Letterkenny Post.
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