This evening I attended the Lord Mayor of Dublin’s public meeting in City hall to address the issue of crime in Dublin. It was an invitation to the general public to come along and have their say.
RTE’s Joe Duffy chaired the public meeting which was attended by the Assistant Garda Commissioner, more than a dozen senior officers, Assistant Dublin City Council Manager and Mr Kieran Mulvey who is assigned to compile a report on Dublin’s north inner city.
The fact the Mayor had to convene a special public meeting, outside of the established Policing Fora and Joint Policing Committee structures, highlights the seriousness of concern.
Gangland crime in the north inner city has dominated the media but it is abundantly clear that crime in Dublin is not confined to the North East Inner City. Members of the public from all parts of the city both north and south expressed anger, disappointment and fear over crime in the city.
The Gardai repeatedly stressed that they are applying every available resource to fight and prosecute crime. Unfortunately it is abundantly clear the Gardaí do not have adequate resources to prosecute and stem the tide of the increasingly lucrative and violent crime.
Gardaí are overworked and totally demoralised. It was wrong this evening that Gardaí were sent out to answer for political policy decisions that have resulted in inadequate policing in Dublin.
Not one of the seven government ministers on the Taoiseach’s inner city Taskforce attended this evenings meeting. I sincerely hope the Government will deliver for the North Inner City. However this evenings “no show” from Government raises serious questions about the Governments’ understanding of the issues and commitment to make the necessary interventions. Kieran Mulvey himself expressed surprise at the enormity of the task of compiling a report.
Government must stop the PR offensive, start listening to the people of Dublin and start meaningfully responding to their needs.
The first issue Government needs to address is the total inadequacy of Gardaí and resources to support Gardaí.
The force has lost more than 2,000 members in recent years yet the Government’s recently announced recruitment drive for 800 new members will not address even half of this loss.
Secondly, Government needs to recognise the factors driving young people into in crime and reverse their cuts to services dedicated to prevention and diversion. Government should renew investment in essential community services like housing, youth services, education and training.
The majority of people living in Dublin’s North Inner City are hardworking, entrepreneurial, creative and dedicated citizens of Dublin who don’t deserve to live in fear.
The Government should make a long-term commitment and invest in creating an alternative and brighter future for the North Inner City.
Anyone wishing to make a submission to Kieran Mulvey’s report can email firstname.lastname@example.org.