Calls grow for garda crackdown on teenage gang tormenting Tralee residents and business-owners
May 03 2022 05:50 PM
THERE is a growing chorus demanding action to tackle a gang of teenagers who have been attacking the elderly; harassing vulnerable children and tormenting business owners in the town centre.
Members of the gang have been causing a nuisance in the town centre since the lockdown in early 2021. In recent months their numbers have swollen and they are now an almost constant presence in and around the town centre.
Recently a number of business owners held a meeting to discuss the issue and, on foot of that, requested gardaí crackdown on the gang.
Given that the group are almost all juveniles the gardaí are limited in what they can do but they have begun seizing e-scooters from some of the youths, with around eight understood to have been confiscated thus far.
This is Kerry Newsletter
The top stories from the Kingdom in news and sport, direct to your inbox every week
On Saturday evening, members of the gang were involved in an incident near the Island of Geese in which an elderly man returning home with shopping was accosted and threatened by a number of the youths.
While the man attempted to force the youths away, it took the intervention of a passer-by to make the youths back down and flee.
Several similar incidents have been reported to The Kerryman in recent weeks.
Meanwhile business all over the town centre have reported daily aggravation by the teens who will enter a premises in a group and split up to create a nuisance for workers and try to access staff-only areas.
Incidents of shop lifting by the gang are an almost daily occurrence according to one frustrated shop owner who asked not to be identified so as to avoid being targeted even more.
Other young teens are also suffering at the hands of the gang.
The Kerryman is aware of two teenagers, one of them vulnerable, who are regularly subjected to harassment; violent threats; physical attacks and vile verbal and online abuse by the gang’s members.
Both children are now afraid to go anywhere near the town centre unaccompanied. The older brother of one said his younger sibling was “shaking with fear” as they entered the Town Square one afternoon recently.
“They were a nuisance but now they’re a real problem. They’ve been let away with it for too long and now they’re fearless. It’s high time something was done to put a stop to it, everyone’s had enough at this stage,” said one trader.