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Public representatives call for Garda intervention into escalating violence in The Heath

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People living in The Heath “are being terrorised,” the Laois Joint Policing Committee meeting has heard.

The issue was raised with Garda Superintendent Eamon Curley at this week’s committee meeting by Brian Stanley, TD, and Laois PPN (Public Participation Network) representative and former Garda, Tom Jones.

Mr Jones told of a “mass brawl” which took place at the entrance of The Heath GAA grounds.

The brawl, which is alleged to have included the use of bill hooks and knives, happened as juvenile members of the club were entering the grounds.

The brawl is the latest in a series of anti-social occurrences taking place in The Heath, including violence, robbery and intimidation.

“People are living in fear,” Mr Jones said. “Two elderly men in their 80’s had their home ransacked while they were away at church.

“Farmers are being blocked from entering their owns lands. It is an intolerable situation.”

Deputy Stanley called on the Office of Public Works, An Garda Síochána and Laois County Council to deal with the situation.

“There is general mayhem,” the Sinn Féin TD said. “People are terrified and it is totally out of order. We can’t go through a summer like this.”

Fianna Fáil Cllr, Pashcal McEvoy told the meeting that the Laois County Council are in the process of buying a house for the people involved.

“Hopefully we will have a response before the end of summer,” Cll McEvoy said.

Mr Jones was not reassured, reminding the committee that the people in question were previously housed in Portarlington before abandoning the house to take up residency in caravans in The Heath since the Covid pandemic.

Supt Eamon Curley declined to comment on the problem, only to say that Garda attended the incident and an investigation is ongoing.

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