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24/10/2021

Gardaí to patrol Naas' Poplar Square following complaints

However the public realm project is hailed as a success

Gardaí to patrol Naas' Poplar Square following complaints

Poplar Square, Naas

Gardaí are to begin patrolling Poplar Square in Naas late at night following complaints about public order issues in the area with the aim of tackling drinking on the street.

However there is overwhelming support among the public and local councillors for the public realm project that has been a feature of the square since Covid-19 emerged well over a year ago.

At a Naas Municipal District meeting on September 14, KCC official Mairéad Hunt said that there was mixed reaction to the project on social media - there was overwhelming support among Twitter users but Facebook users were critical.

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“It is a success in terms of having it used during the day,” Ms Hunt said and she was supported by Cllr Evie Sammon who said it is a “great spot” between 9am and 9pm “but there are issues to address.”

Town manager Eoghan Ryan accepted that there had been “a lot of negative comment on Facebook”.

But, he said, there is a commitment from the gardaí to have a presence there at weekends.

Referring to the litter problem, Mr Ryan said there will be additional bin services and the reopening of pubs and clubs later in October will alleviate pressure on the area.

“Once this happens there will be a vigorous enforcement of alcohol bye-laws,” said Mr Ryan.

Cllr Carmel Kelly also said the project is working.

Cllr Fintan Brett criticised the recent  filming of the area at 3-4am before Kildare County Council staff had arrived to clean the place.

“I don’t think they’re serving Naas well,” he said.

Cllr Anne Breen, the only councillor opposing the project, said she was “disgusted to see young people out celebrating at weekends.”

She added: “It’s wrong, we should do something about it. I’m getting emails, I’ve never seen anything as bad in 42 years.”

However, Cllr Sammon said young people have a right to celebrate and a right to be there and they don't have to be 42 years in Naas to do so.

Cllr Bill Clear said Cllr Breen should withdraw her comments about young people  and said that 99% of people who visit Poplar Square keep it clean.

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