By Sean Moriarty
Worried Scartaglin residents have this week formed a Community Alert Group – following a suspicious approach made by a masked man to a boy in the local GAA pitch.
Last Saturday afternoon between 3.15pm and 3.35pm, a local 11-year-old boy who was playing football on his own after the U10 football training had finished, was approached by a man whose face was covered. The frightened youngster was able to make his escape and alert his parents who live in a house very close to Scartaglin GAA pitch.
Garda, who are investigating the incident, are appealing to the public for their assistance asking if anyone has seen a black or dark coloured car, possibly a VW Golf in the area at the time.
The local GAA club acted immediately and organised an urgent committee meeting on Monday and an open public meeting the following night.
Close to 130 local residents attended Tuesday night’s meeting – including the parents of the child.
A new 20-strong committee was formed to organise a Community Alert programme in the area.
“Scartaglin GAA does everything it should to protect our children, we never leave kids on their own after a training session and at least one coach will always stay behind,” said Coiste na Og officer Seamus Riordan from Scartaglin GAA Club.
“A lot of people were concerned that the boy was on our pitch kicking football on his own. He would view that pitch as an extension of his own lawn and his parents’ house is right beside the pitch. His father spoke openly at the public meeting and we were able to get the full story on what happened. No details were hidden or left untold. We are looking at installing CCTV in an effort to further protect our children and everyone in the parish.”
Gardai continue to investigate the incident and the newly formed Community Alert committee will meet again in the coming weeks.
Anyone with information can contact Tralee Garda Station on 066 7102300.