How to improve your neighbourhood


paul reynolds

There are many ways in which to improve your neighbourhood the most noticeable of them being respect ,courtesy and tolerance for those living around you. In every neighbourhood there are people who like to gossip, there are people who play golf, love their garden or just like to go in and out, say hello, goodbye and simply get on with their lives. Unfortunately, there are people living in our neighbourhoods who can do nothing better other than cause disruption, division and conflict. They may not be the type of people who we often judge as being unsocial or who care less or nothing about their home. They could be the people who appear socially active, are in all the sports clubs and do their utmost best to give an impression to others that butter would not melt in their mouths. There are many types of characters associated to people in our neighbourhoods, therefore we must avoid falling into the trap of of taking sides and widening the gap of division that spurns conflict and causes pain.

Take Johns Park West for example, where violence, racism and over twenty years of conflict that was instigated by only two families with the help of another, seen many residents leave the road after a short period of residence. A road where young children were continuously called knackers, vehicle were damaged and violated, elderly people were subjected to abuse and harassment on a nightly basis and women were subjected to the most viol suggestions by youths congregating on the road. GAA footballs and hurling balls were a nightly missile aiming challenge, as individual parents stood quietly behind their windows as their siblings organised another attack.

So what is the best way to improve our neighbourhoods?
Web sites such as or the anti-social behaviour web site at allow individuals to air their views and express their concerns about issues relating to their neighbourhood.These web sites allow people to openly submit their names or provide pseudo names in order to protect their identities so they in turn do not become targets for the ASB brigades.

Keeping you eyes and ears open, while at the same time using the gift of speech to inform the Gardai about crime and other problems such as drugs in your area.

Everybody taking part in the visible presentation of their neighbourhood by keeping the roads clean and the grass verges cut. Avoid leaving cars unattended at the footpaths for considerable periods of time.

Learn to say hello and goodbye, its a nice day or just Hi. Neighbours like neighbours to be there when they need them and not as a chin wagging method of shifting gossip based on I go into your house and you come into mine.. Say hello, goodbye until until the norm become communication and not avoidance.
Avoid the youth images of congregating and sitting on garden walls in little groups, it causes a me and them mentality and helps enforce barriers and sides.
If there is an event about to happen in the neighbourhood make sure everybody knows about it. Quite often people go in and out of their homes completely unaware that there is a sense of community on their road, simply because someone said 'Oh I would not bother with them, they just go in and out as everybody goes along with this one track opinion.
Be very wary of people who present themselves in neat attractive packaging, they can often be a source of conflict which is caused by their own personal social problems.
Organise a neighbours night out, a social gathering, a night in the local pub or hotel where people can sit and socialise with one another.
Encourage the local residents association to become more involved in helping to break down barriers by adopting an inclusive representative role instead of a members only role.
Avoid making comments about other residents in the presents of your children, they just repeat and mimic their parents with little or no comprehension of exactly what they are saying to others on the road.
Teach children respect for other and other people's property for our children will be the parents of children in the future.

Look out for your neighbours even if they initially do not look out for you,time and grey hair has a strange way of telling us that in reality we are only mortal and will in time follow those who departed our presence so we can prepare for our own.

Never forget that material value is something you cannot take with you to the grave, therefore what you have around you is really on short term loan. Trying to better Mrs Murphy next door with a 08 motor instead of a 07 is just a foolish game where death triumphs and eventually beats all,leaving you equal as one another.

Neighbourhoods can be a wonderful place for all, if we are prepared to put in the effort.
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