Speaking on radio recently, Chris O’Dwyer the Labour Party’s Local Area Representative for Clondalkin-Rathcoole has called for investment in youth amenities and teen spaces to combat anti-social behaviour in the Clondalkin area.
Speaking after the program O’Dwyer said: “Criminalising young people who are just hanging out with their friends around shopping centres is not an appropriate solution to anti-social behaviour. It simply escalates the situation and leaves young people feeling as if they do not have a stake in their community and this will lead to increased levels of anti-social behaviour.
“Young people need a place within the community that they can call their own, a place that they can invest in and increase their stake within the community. Teen spaces are an excellent investment, but local authorities need to carry out meaningful consultation with young people to find out what they actual want. A great many people give out about young people hanging around shopping centres, but no one is stopping to ask why, no one is engaging with the young people and asking what is so attractive about hanging out at shopping centres.
“Local authorities can build all the youth amenities they want in the hope that young people will come and make use of them. However, if they do not consult local young people about what they want these amenities will not be successful in acting as diversionary tactics against anti-social behaviour. “Young people want to be listened to, they want to feel accepted by the wider community and that they have a stake in their community. We adults need to stop talking at them and start listening to what they are saying.