PEOPLE with ‘criminal backgrounds’ rehoused in Derrygonnelly have been linked with a rise in crime there.
A vicious attack and increased cases of anti-social behaviour have unsettled residents in the peaceful Fermanagh village in recent months.
People living in Derrygonnelly were left shocked by the violent incident involving knives and other weapons earlier this year, which led to three men aged 36, 39, and 45 being treated in hospital.
All three received injuries and lacerations to their heads and bodies in the incident in the New Line area of the village on February 28, which local sources feared was linked to an ongoing feud.
A reported rise in anti-social behaviour around the village also heightened local people’s concerns, while readers have contacted the Herald in recent weeks complaining that drug dealers are more active in the area.
Liam Jones, ex-chairman of the Derrygonnelly and District Community Partnership, believed crime was more prevalent due to the rehousing of certain individuals in the village and its surrounding district.
“The local community is not to blame for this. We have a great cross-community spirit here. The real issue is that we have people being rehoused here with criminal backgrounds and they are creating the problems,” Mr Jones said.
“And it’s not just Derrygonnelly. Bad elements are being rehoused by the Housing Executive to other peaceful places in Fermanagh and causing trouble.
“It’s a problem the Derrygonnelly community sadly now has to deal with too.
“Local, law-abiding people are suffering because of it.”
Another prominent member of the community, Michael Skuce, former vice-chairman of the Derrygonnelly and District Community Partnership, also warned against ‘vigilantism’ and that people should not take matters into their own hands despite having understandable concerns.
“Vigilantism is the last thing we want to see happening here. We would encourage people to report anything untoward they see to the appropriate authorities,” Mr Skuce said.
“The last disturbance was very worrying as several people were injured, so we will continue to raise these issues with the police.
“It is concerning but we realise the police have been doing quite a bit of work in relation to these problems over the past six to 12 months. They are aware of who certain individuals are.”
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