00:00 Saturday 03 April 2010  Written by Frank O Donovan

Clon resident perturbed by antics outside youth disco

A RESIDENT who lives near the teenage disco that is held regularly in Clonakilty said that his garden had been destroyed and swamped in bottles, cans and plastic bottles in the aftermath of a recent disco.

John Fitzgerald has lived at Park View, Clonakilty, facing the by-pass and just a few metres down the road from the Industrial Hall where the disco is held, for three years and the "vandalism" has been going on since he arrived, he claimed.

When the most recent disco for under-age youth was held at the industrial hall, early in March, he watched the buses arrive full of young people about 9 pm.

The young people who got off the buses seem to have been drinking. "I watched a group of young girls get off the bus and head in the opposite direction toward the town. They were all dolled up to the nines and perhaps 16 or 17 years of age," he said.

He added: "The noise of the youths around my house was frightening over the next few hours until the disco ended at 1am. Bottles crashed outside my door, people urinated on my plants and pulled them out with force, threw rubbish in my garden and shouted and roared. It went on and on and on and on."

The organisers of the disco usually provide security at the entrance to Park View estate, but there was no visible security that night, he claimed.

"What was I to do? Confront these youths and put my life in danger? I saw my garden destroyed and swamped in bottles, cans and plastic bottles. I have cleaned up for years after them, but now I just give up."

He added that the final straw was when he started his car the following morning and wondered why it felt like he was driving with the brake on. When he checked he discovered that the exhaust pipe had been stuffed with paper.

Clonakilty Show committee organises the Boiler Room teenage discos in the Industrial Hall in the town. Show secretary Donal McCarthy said this week that the biggest problem for the organisers was that they couldn't do anything about people who were out on the road while the disco was in progress.

Young people who were banned from the disco could be causing problems, but not the people who attended the event, who had to remain in the hall until the discos end. Some of the people who were banned from the teenage disco were unable to get into the nightclubs in the town.

Mr McCarthy said the disco was for young people up to the age of 18, but in reality nobody over 16 attended it. Around 12 discos are held a year.

He said the show committee had "bent over backwards" to accommodate the needs of people who live in the surrounding area. The disco is supervised and the young people are checked for alcohol and drugs when they arrive.

Anybody who has the signs of alcohol or drugs is brought to a nurse who is on duty throughout the evening. The young people stay in the hall while the disco is in progress and cannot leave unless a parent collects them.

"The teenage disco is a good facility for the town and the parents of those who attend are delighted with it. It is a well-run, properly-supervised event. But sometimes the young people are blamed for things that happen in the town," said Mr McCarthy.

Security is in place to prevent cars from pulling into the driveways of houses near the hall, he added.

Inspector Colin Collins of Clonakilty garda station said the local gardai did not have any issues with the running of the teenage disco in the town. From a policing point of view, it was generally a well-run event and the large number of young people attended it were usually well behaved.

He added that any complaints that the gardai received were attended to.

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