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Vulnerable pensioner under sustained attack 02.09.08

VULNERABLE pensioner continues to be the victim of a sustained campaign of bullying and vandalism by some youths in the Cockhill area, according to the local branch of the St Vincent de Paul.
In just over a year, the elderly man has had windows smashed no fewer than seven times while his home is regularly pelted with eggs.
The problem has become so severe, Gardai have assigned a special liaison officer to assist him while Garda chiefs say Cockhill will shortly come under the focus of a special community policing campaign.
Less than a year after the late community activist Charlie O'Donnell spoke out in support of the elderly and vulnerable of the area, the St. Vincent de Paul has once again been forced to highlight their plight.
They say furniture inside a vacant house in the Clonbeg area was set alight in recent weeks while local firefighters had to launch a full-scale emergency to put out the blaze.
SVP member Liam Magee yesterday said the vandalism had to stop. He said the cost of replacing the seven double-glazed windows in their housing scheme in the past year ran to more than 1,000. But this paled in comparison with the torment endured by the elderly man on an ongoing basis.
Meanwhile, Garda Sergeant John O'Keeffe quashed a "vicious rumour" circulating in the area that the house set alight in recent weeks was also the scene of an illegal drugs find. And he said there was no connection between this fire and the attacks on the SVP housing in Cockhill.
He did, however, acknowledge that the Cockhill area was suffering ongoing anti-social behaviour and he criticised "a number" of parents whom he said were not facing up to their responsibilities.
"There are a number of parents in the Cockhill and Umricam areas who are in denial in relation to their children's behaviour. They need to take responsibility and face up to the fact that their under-18s are out and about causing criminal damage and tormenting people," said Sgt O'Keeffe, in one of his last media comments ahead of his retirement on September 23.
He said parents might not realise that if their child comes to the attention of the Garda Juvenile Liaison Scheme more than once, headquarters in Dublin could recommend that charges be brought against them despite their youth.
He also reiterated his warning to the parents of the alleged offenders that they could also face charges of child neglect under child protection laws.
"Parents who let their children stay out late at night getting into trouble and dangerous situations could face charges of neglect," he said, adding that Cockhill would become the primary focus of community policing involving dedicated officers who will patrol the area targeting repeat offenders and vandalism blackspots.
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