Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Martin Kenny TD, has called for support for the party’s proposals to tackle crime in Dublin.
The escalating instances of violence and anti-social behaviour across Dublin City and the wider county was recently highlighted by several programmes on national media outlets focusing on crime and antisocial behaviour in the nations capital.
Teachta Kenny said:
“For a long time now, open drug use and dealing has been a common sight in the city’s main thoroughfares such as O’Connell Street and core transport hubs, along with frightening levels and anti-social behaviour and violence.
“As well as leaving residents, workers, commuters and visitors fearful, this behaviour also causes reputational damage to our very beautiful and historic capital city.
“There is also a growing perception that public transport in not safe throughout some areas of Dublin – both for passengers and staff.
“The negligence of the Irish Government to properly resource An Garda Síochána to tackle these issues is a major concern. Since 2018, we have seen a decrease in 168 Gardaí deployed to the public order unit.
“In terms of overall policing, while the number of members is slowly climbing since Templemore was reopened, we see a significant number of new Garda members leave annually.
“As well as the retention crisis within An Garda Síochána, there has been an abject failure of successive governments to tackle the root causes of crime, antisocial behaviour, and drug use.
“These behaviours do not occur in a vacuum as we know well, and this is something the Commissioner acknowledged during a recent meeting I had with him. A holistic, wrap-around response is required.
“I commend the work of Gardaí throughout the capital as part of Operation Citizen and other similar operations.
However, these Operations need to be supported with ring-fenced funding to ensure they are continued for as long as is necessary.
“In particular, there needs to be a focus on overt and covert policing methods to target criminal behaviour on the streets of Dublin, along with an emphasis on community policing.
“I have proposed a number of actions that must be taken immediately by the Minister, the government, and indeed the four local authorities within Dublin city and county.
“This includes the establishment of a dedicated public transport police unit to address anti-social behaviour and other criminal activity on public transport and at transport hubs.
“An Garda Síochána also need adequate resourcing to increase rank and file members, with a focus on sustained visibility throughout Dublin, and returning Public Order Units to pre-pandemic levels.
“We need to see a return to targeted community policing, a model which always catered to the specific needs of local communities.
“Having spoken to a number of crime victims over recent months, they also feel that the sentences handed out by the courts service may not always fit the crime and its effect on their lives.
“While I understand the judiciary must consider sentencing guidelines, we need to see a move toward a system that respects victims, and that prisons have the space to accommodate criminals where and when appropriate.
“A holistic programme of investment and measures such as is this is required to target and deter the continued criminality our communities are seeing in specific parts of the countries capital.
“Government need to finally put their money where their mouth is to correct the decades of underspend which has led to the issues we see now. “