List of names at FF meeting 'put families at risk'
The distribution of a list of names alleged to be involved in teenage anti-social behaviour has left families in danger, according to the Department of Children and Youth Affairs.
The National Parents' Council has also commented, saying there is an "element of vigilantism" about the sinister development at the Tallaght meeting in Fettercairn last week that was organised by Fianna Fail.
A list of 15 names of teens aged between 13 and 18 and their home addresses was circulated at Fettercairn Community Centre last Wednesday night.
Fianna Fail distanced itself from the development, saying they do not know who distributed the typed sheets with the names, house numbers and street addresses on them.
Local Sinn Fein councillor Louise Dunne said she spotted the leaflets at the meeting and alerted staff.
"I went out to the two women that work in the centre and informed them about it.
"The three of us came in removed them from the chairs and the table and no one knew who had put them there," she said.
A manager in the centre destroyed them when they were found, but it is unclear how many people may have picked one up or seen it elsewhere.
Speaking after the Herald brought the concerns of parents to light, a spokesman for Department of Children and Youth Affairs said the business of distributing information about anti-social behaviour is a matter of clear concern.
"The concern is around the inappropriate nature of making such claims rendering families in danger, and this would be true no matter what age the individuals are," the spokesman said.
"It is a matter of justice and fairness to the individuals and the families involved," he added.
Helen Mortimer, the CEO of the National Parents' Council (Post Primary) also said the list should not have been circulated.
"Apart from data protection issues, there's an element of vigilantism about it.
"Parents of children who have been named in the circular could lodge a complaint with the gardai," she advised.
Families whose children's names were on the list say they are now living in fear.
"We have been told we will be burned out of our house, and that kids will be dragged into vans," one mother said.
Local Fianna Fail vouncillor Charlie O'Connor said he handed the list to a local Superintendent after he got it at the meeting, but one mother whose son's name is listed said she has not been contacted by the gardai.
"What we need now is the manager of the community centre to review their CCTV and bring any footage of this person to the gardai," she said.
"This is defamation as far as I'm concerned, and we need to get to the bottom of it."
Both Charlie O'Connor and Fianna Fail justice spokesman Niall Collins, who chaired the meeting in Fettercairn, condemned the list and said they did not know who distributed it.