I am supporting urgent implementation of tougher measures to tackle anti-social behaviour across Dublin City & County, to improve Garda visibility, and to uphold law, order and public safety.
Our citizens deserve to know that their safety and security is a top priority. Law and order is a core value of this Government and we must continue to ensure that community safety policies are prioritized, not just in An Garda Siochana, but in health and social services, education authorities and local authorities. This all of government approach will ensure that our cities, towns, and villages are safe. Dublin is much more than our capital city – but also the industrial, economic and cultural centre of our nation. I have been angered by a number of recent incidents that have taken place which underline the need to implement our plans as quickly as possible.
Recent violent and unprovoked attacks have stoked up a great deal of unease about people’s personal safety on the streets of Dublin. As a woman and mother, I know this feeling all too well. It is clear that a targeted approach is needed. Working with Minister Humphreys and my colleagues, I know that Fine Gael in Government is best placed to work alongside Dublin City Council and local stakeholders to ensure that anti-social behaviour is stamped out throughout Dublin.
Earlier this year, the Government published the General Scheme of the Policing, Security & Community Safety Bill, a landmark piece of legislation that provides for the most wide ranging and coherent reform of policing in a generation – and will allow for increased visibility of An Garda Síochána in our communities to prevent crime and harm. Garda visibility and targeted policing are crucial in trying to deter acts of aggression and criminality. It is not enough that our streets are safe, it is also important that residents feel safe. Most importantly, the bill recognises that local communities themselves know what the best responses will be to improve safety in their own areas.
A new Local Community Safety Partnership will be piloted in Dublin’s Inner City and a Community Safety Innovation Fund, announced by Minister McEntee and Minister McGrath, will encourage and recognise the efforts of local communities to improve community safety, based on their local experience and unique perspectives. The fund will reflect the success of An Garda Siochana and the Criminal assets Bureau in seizing criminal assets.
This landmark legislation also recognises that community safety must be a whole of government responsibility. The new law, when enacted, will embed a key principle that preventing crime and harm and making our communities safer does not rest with the Gardaí alone – it will be most effectively achieved on a whole of government basis with Departments and agencies such as health and social services, education authorities and local authorities, the Gardaí and the wider community all working together.
I also believe that due consideration needs to be given to expanding the Community CCTV Scheme, which is used by An Garda Síochána, in order to deter further criminal behaviour in Dublin City & County. The General Scheme for the Garda Síochána (Digital Recordings) Bill will replace the current legislative basis for this scheme under the An Garda Síochána Act 2005. I have no doubt that the Minister for Justice will continue to ensure that this new legislative measure will be robust – and I hope that the any proposed reviews of this scheme can be carried out as soon as possible.
A new Anti-Social Behaviour Forum has also been set up with the aim of tackling anti-social behaviour in our communities. The Government also recently published Youth Justice Strategy 2021-2027 which provides a framework to preventing offending anti-social behaviour occurring; diverting children and young adults who commit a crime away from further offending; and enhancing criminal justice processes, detention and post-detention measures, to provide consistent support and promote positive personal development for young offenders.
All of the above measures prove that Fine Gael and this Government remain committed to maintaining law and order on our streets.