CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY
To discuss the problem of joyriding and anti-social behaviour in Dublin Bay North
Deputy Thomas Broughan
Thank you, Deputy Broughan, for raising this important public safety issue. The Deputy will recall that I responded to his oral parliamentary question on the same issue on 5 December 2017. I note that, in this instance, the Deputy is focussing on the impact of dangerous driving and anti-social behaviour in his own constituency of Dublin Bay North.
I share the Deputy’s concern in relation to joyriding and anti-social behaviour. We all want to feel safe in our communities. We want our families, friends and neighbours to feel safe. Our community is an extension of our home.
Joyriding and anti-social behaviour fly in the face of what we expect when we are at home in our community. The result of such behaviour can be tragic: the participants in such dangerous, anti-social activities can become injured, sometimes seriously, and sometimes fatally. Innocent passers-by, including other road users and pedestrians can meet a similar fate. Families, friends and neighbours – communities – are left to pick up the pieces afterwards.
You will appreciate, Deputy, that I have no direct role in the prevention of anti-social behaviour or the enforcement of road traffic legislation, which are operational matters for the Garda Commissioner.
I am informed, however, that An Garda Síochána conducts operations on an ongoing basis to target the anti-social activities of young drivers. In order to combat this behaviour, intelligence is gathered at local level and areas are targeted as appropriate. An Garda Síochána also works closely with local authorities with a view to reducing such incidents and opportunities for joyriding, anti-social behaviour and public disorder.
As a result of the dangerous and anti-social driving behaviour experienced in a number of areas within the Deputy’s constituency, An Garda Síochána has introduced a robust policy of public order patrols at weekends over recent weeks with a view to:
- Ensuring a visible Garda presence in the communities concerned;
- Ensuring the safety of Garda members attending to calls;
- Identifying and targeting offenders;
- Preventing anti-social behaviour.
Ongoing liaison has been maintained with Dublin City Council and local Garda management are continuously engaging directly with the communities affected and with public representatives. As a result of this collaborative approach, An Garda Síochána has reported a clear improvement in the levels of anti-social behaviour in recent weeks in the communities concerned. I commend this approach and all involved. In particular, Dublin City Council have made improvements to the railings around Darndale Park and this has contributed to a reduction of driving in the park.
A number of youths involved in anti-social behaviour in the area have been identified and plans have been put in place to bring them within the Case Management Programme, which is an effective tool to prevent future criminal behaviour. A specific policing operation was put in place in one of the areas concerned on 20 October, and involves a range of policing activities with over 25 members of An Garda Síochána drawn from across the District and Public Order Units. Intensive patrolling and checkpoints were conducted. I understand that there has been an obvious improvement in the area recently
The Programme for Government underlines the need for close engagement between An Garda Síochána and local communities as part of the strong community policing ethos which has long been central to policing in this jurisdiction. The active engagement evidenced here has proved fruitful. Now it is vital that this engagement continues.