September 21, 2020
No community Garda after 7pm since March – Mark Ward TD

Mark WardSinn Féin TD for Dublin Mid-West Mark Ward has called information he received stating that since Covid started in March, Community Gardai have been on a “contingency roster” introduced by the commissioner Drew Harris, as an abandonment of our community. 

This has meant that the community policing unit was only working to 7pm each evening and had left communities extremely vulnerable.

Teachta Ward said: “Over the last couple of months, I have noticed an increase in anti-social behaviour and other illegal activity not just in my area of Dublin Mid-West, but right across Dublin.

“Our communities are under nightly attacks by the misuse of fireworks. We have elderly residents afraid to leave their homes, shop keepers fearful for their customers and staff.

“We have seen an increase in open drug dealing and anti-social behaviour and it has an impact on how safe our communities feel for residents.

“Information I received from Dublin Bus shows an increase of bus curtailments due to anti-social behaviour. In fact, there has been a 200% increase on the number of incidents where bus drivers had to stop their journey because of attacks with fireworks and other missiles.

“There is a real sense of fear and abandonment in our communities, and residents reported a lack of police presence in our areas particularly at night-time.

“Some Sinn Féin colleagues and I have been looking into this lack of community garda presence at night-time, and what we discovered is quite shocking.

“Since Covid started in March, community Gardai have been on a “contingency roster” introduced by the commissioner Drew Harris. This has meant that community policing unit was only working to 7pm each evening.

“So basically, since March no community Gardai have operated after 7pm each night. You do not have to be a rocket scientist to attribute the increase in illegal activity in our areas to a decrease in policing presence.

“This decision to reduce the nighttime hours that community Gardai work was a national decision and does not only impact Dublin but the whole country.

“Our communities have been abandoned by Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Greens.

“This contingency roster introduced by the Commissioner has had a direct impact on community safety.

“Community Gardai are frustrated and feel that they cannot carry out their duties. Community Gardai in Dublin have  already seen their numbers decimated from 508 in 2010 to 278 in 2020.

“This manifested itself at the weekend when it took Gardai five hours to react to an open-air party in Oliver Bond that had open drug use and went against all public health advice.

“I would like to know why this decision was made, what consultation did Drew Harris carry out with other community stakeholders and how long are our communities going to be abandoned?”

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