COMHARSANACHT MHAITH

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Caithfidh mé comhghairdeas a dhéanamh leis an ghrúpa ‘Faire Comharsanachta’ i Magh. D’eagraigh siad cruinniú poiblí an tseachtain seo. Labhair beirt ghardaí : Caoimhín Inglis agus Pól de Bhailis. Rinne Pól taispeántas sleamhnán an-eolach agus thug an bheirt acu comhairle an-mhaith don lucht éisteachta.Thit an ráta coiriúlachta sa cheantar go suntasach ar na mallaibh mar gheall ar an chomhoibriú idir na gardaí agus an pobal. Beidh an leabhrán a seoladh ag an ócáid thar a bheith úsáideach.

Tá athruithe móra tagtha ar an tír seo maidir le coiriúlacht. Tá fadhbanna againn nach raibh ag na glúnta a chuaigh romhainn. Thug m’athair mór leaba don oíche d’sheanfhear siúil go minic i nGleann Gad: ní tharlódh a leithéid sa lá atá inniu ann. Nuair a bhí ball den teaghlach le teacht isteach go mall, níor cuireadh an doras faoi ghlas. I nDoire, lá den saol, ba nós le daoine eochair an dorais a chur ar phíosa corda agus í a chur tríd an bhosca litreacha, agus ansin d’imigh siad leo ar laethanta saoire. Mhothaigh achan duine sábhailte ina theach féin agus rinne na comharsana cinnte go raibh na seandaoine sábhailte. Ní raibh garda de dhíth ar oileáin áirithe. Ní raibh fadhb mhór ann maidir le hólachán: bhí daoine fásta sásta líomanáid a ól ag damhsaí. Fuair daoine drugaí ón phoitigéir. Ní raibh spraoithiománaithe ann. Ach, sin ráite, ní raibh a lán carranna ann ach oiread. Tá fadhbanna i dtíortha eile fosta nach raibh ann, abraimis, daichead bliain ó shin. Bhí Máire Rua ag caint ar an raidió uair amháin ar an am a chaith sí ag obair i nGlaschú. ‘An uair úd bhí tú ábalta siúl trí na Gorbals am ar bith d’oíche nó de lá, agus ní bhuailfeá le duine ar bith níos measa ná tú féin.’Ach d’imigh sin agus tháinig seo. Caithfimid bheith ar airdeall. Mar sin de, is fiú go deo an leabhrán a chuir Faire Comharsanachta Mhaighe amach. Léigh é agus glac leis an chomhairle atá ann. ‘Is fearr beagán cuidithe ná mórán trua.’

BEING A GOOD NEIGHBOUR

I must congratulate the ‘Neighbourhood Watch’ group in Muff. They organised a public meeting this week. Two gardaí spoke: Kevin Inglis and Paul Wallace. Paul did a very informative slide show and both gave very good advice to the audience. The crime rate in the area has fallen considerably recently because of cooperation between the gardaí and the community. The booklet that was launched at the event will be very useful.

Great changes have come over this country regarding crime. We have problems that previous generations never had. My grandfather would often give an old tramp a bed for the night in Glengad: that sort of thing would never happen nowadays. When a member of the family was due back home late, the door wasn’t locked. It used to be the case in Derry that people would put the key of the door on a piece of string, put it through the letter-box, and then go off on holiday. Everyone felt safe in his own home and neighbours made sure that old people were safe. There was no garda required on some of the islands. There was no great problem with drink: adults were happy to drink lemonade at dances. People got drugs from the chemist. There were no joy-riders. But, having said that, there were not many cars either. Other countries also have problems that didn’t exist, say, forty years ago. Máire Rua was talking on the radio once about the time she spent working in Glasgow. ‘Away back then, you could walk through the Gorbals at any time of the day or night, and you would not meet anyone worse than yourself.’ But times have changed. We have to be alert. This being the case, the booklet that Muff Neighbourhood Watch has published is extremely valuable. Read it and follow the advice it gives. ‘A little help is better than a lot of grief.’

***This column is also available on our website, www.derryjournal.com