Sinn Féin spokesperson for Mental Health and Community Safety Mark Ward TD has called for a multi-agency response after RTÉ Prime Time last night highlighted the increasing levels of visible on-street drug dealing, drug using, homelessness intimidation and violence in Dublin’s Temple Bar area.
The Dublin Mid-West TD said:
“Communities deserve to feel safe and protected but it’s clear that crime in Dublin is causing huge concern for residents, workers and tourists.
”After over a decade with responsibility for the Justice Department, Fine Gael have badly let down the Gardaí by failing to give them the investment, support and leadership they need to get on with their jobs of protecting communities.
”Last night’s RTÉ Prime Time programme on Temple Bar was a look at the underbelly of what citizens of Dublin have to face on a daily basis.
“Garda numbers have been decimated right across Dublin and they must be increased significantly to restore confidence and a feeling of safety for people living in Dublin.
“While increasing Garda visibility will help, it will not be the panacea to fix the problems that Prime Time highlighted last night, including visible on-street drug dealing, drug using, homelessness intimidation and violence in Dublin’s Temple
“We need a multi-agency approach.
“We need to, at the very least, fund our local drug and alcohol task forces so they can respond to issues in their community.
“As a former director of the Clondalkin Drug and Alcohol Task force I know how hamstrung these organisations are by lack of resources. We need task forces to be able to be pro-active not just reactive.
“The programme highlighted that younger people are doing the majority of the drug dealing. We need a two-pronged approach to solve this.
“Firstly, we need to go hard at unscrupulous older criminals who place the drugs in young people’s hands to begin with
“Older criminals using children for criminal activities is not a new phenomenon in disadvantaged areas. However, there has been a visible increase in our communities over the last couple of years.
“Sinn Fein have legislation to tackle this head on. If passed, this legislation will ensure that these criminals are held to account and cannot use our children to make massive profits for themselves. Anyone found guilty of this offence will also face a long prison sentence that fits the crime.
“Secondly, we must invest in our communities and allow them to build resilience to crime.
“Sinn Féin has always advocated that any money returned to the Exchequer by CAB should be ring-fenced and put back into communities to tackle disadvantage, and to fund drug prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation services.
“Such a fund could also be used for local sports clubs, youth clubs, employment centres and other valuable services in our communities.
“This would help communities impacted the most by organised crime to be able to build resilience and stop the next generation of our young people becoming attracted to the criminal lifestyle.
“The cycle of poverty and disadvantage leading to children being vulnerable to grooming by drug gangs is something we, as legislators, need to break.
”Sinn Féin in government would tackle the issue of crime in Dublin, to ensure communities can feel safe and protected.”