COMMUNITY POLICING AND SHELTERED HOUSING
by louis walsh
For several years now the local community Gardai have been visiting the bullies who run Cambridge Court. I have never know them in all that time to actually call on tenants and so I can honestly say that they have been calling down to see the bullies but in the last few weeks this has changed. Now they are calling to see me. I did not invite them. I did not ask them to call and I would rather they didn’t……….
One of them called on me today and asked if there had been any more trouble. He was referring to the fact that a couple of weeks ago I took the lock off a door in Cambridge Court so that tenants could use the kitchen. The implication of his question was of course that I had caused trouble. The trouble was actually caused by the retired matron who for years has refused to let tenants use the place and the Gardai who responded to her phone call instead of simply saying that it was a private matter and nothing to do with them. There has been trouble in Cambridge Court for years but it only became trouble to the Gardai when , after six years of extreme patience and restraint on my part I felt it had just gone on far too long. The Gardai are not calling on this retired matron to tell her she must not prevent tenants using the kitchen nor are they calling on Dublin City Council to advise them to put an end to this situation – they are only calling on me. This is quite intimidating and the message I am getting is very clear……
There is , as I have said , trouble in Cambridge Court every day of the week and big trouble at that but that’s not a matter that the Gardai or DCC are interested in. They only become interested if a tenant decides he/she has had enough. None of this is in any way in the interest of tenants but who cares about the tenants. They presumably should be grateful they have a roof over their heads and leave it at that. Not only is it not in the interest of tenants it is positively harmful to tenants. Tenants who for years have lived without hope now have the message driven home that it is pointless to even try to change things. Is this what community police is all about ? Bullying is a serious offense and there is evidence of it in abundance in Cambridge Court for anyone who cares to open their eyes but obviously no one is even remotely interested. At no point in the last few weeks has any Garda or detective Garda expressed any interest in investing the matter. It is just not that important. It may well , as the evidence suggests , shorten the life of it’s victims and do them appalling damage but that is not even an issue with the authorities.
Meanwhile , back in the real world , the nasty intimidating world of sheltered housing the bullying and intimidation goes on unchallenged. The victims are on their own. Not only are they abandoned and alone but the Gardai are there to make sure it stays that way. As I keep repeating over and over again on this blog – the bullies are not the problem , it is the people who protect them that are the problem.