Sinn Féin spokesperson on Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, Louise O’Reilly TD, has said that Dublin city centre businesses and their workers want assurances from government that the recent increased policing presence will continue after Christmas.
Deputy O’Reilly was speaking following continued engagements with Dublin retailers over their concerns for the safety of their staff and customers.
Teachta O’Reilly said:
“While recent events have brought public safety in Dublin’s city centre into sharp focus, many businesses have not felt safe – fearing for the safety of their workers and customers – for a very long time.
“Sinn Féin has long been engaging with affected businesses, retailers, trade unions and workers about the need to come up with a lasting plan to keep workers, customers and communities safe.
“In July, our Justice spokesperson Pa Daly published proposals to tackle crime in Dublin. A Sinn Féin government would invest in policing to ensure communities can feel safe and protected.
“Our engagements with business owners and workers are ongoing, and among those we met today was Michael O’Driscoll, the proprietor of Spar on Talbot Street.
“The feedback received is echoed by retailers right across the city centre. Michael relayed to us the relief and reassurance that recent increased Garda presence had on his workers and customers, but also the fear that things cannot be allowed to return to the way they were.
“The fear is very real, because the fact is the current increased patrols are down to Garda overtime. That is not a permanent measure, and we need a sustainable solution that ensures permanent and consistent Garda presence on the streets of our capital.
“People like Michael are on the ground, on the coal face, and need to be listened to.
“In the summer, Michael wrote to the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, expressing his concern about the deterioration in public safety in the city centre and expressed his fear that ‘something very serious is going to happen’.
“He was among a number of retailers who consistently raised such fears, but felt that their concerns were not being taken seriously.
“Unfortunately those fears became reality, with serious incidents of assault over the summer, and the unprecedented scenes we saw on November 23rd.
“There is a noticeable improved atmosphere in Dublin city following the increased visible Garda presence since – people are in good spirits, the streets are packed with Christmas shoppers.
“But it can’t just be for Christmas. Michael’s concern – one we are hearing back from businesses across the city – is that come the new year, things will go back to the way they were.
“That cannot be allowed to happen. Unless a permanent solution to properly police our city centre is found, workers will continue to be put at risk, retailers will continue to lose tens of thousands in stock, and broader society will continue to suffer.”