Dáil debates

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Community Safety and Preventing Crime: Statements


7:55 pm

Photo of Ruairi Ó MurchúRuairi Ó Murchú (Louth, Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

I appreciate the opportunity to speak on this matter. I welcome the earlier contributions of the two Ministers. All the right terminology was used, reflecting the requirement for a multi-agency response. They talked about the necessity for family supports. A synergy between all the stakeholders involved in community development and the justice system is needed. I welcome the discussion of an expansion of the youth justice system. That probably needs to be redesigned it. We need a system that is able to deal with the fact that kids are getting involved in crime at earlier ages. I refer both to serious anti-social behaviour and children being groomed by crime gangs to engage in drug dealing. We need a system that will deal with this. We must involve all the stakeholders.

The difficulty is that these services, whether provided by the State or by NGOs, are generally under severe pressure and in need of resourcing. Community policing must be at the very centre of this. I welcome some of what was said by my colleague, Deputy Imelda Munster. She referred to the brutal feuding in Drogheda prompting an increase in community policing numbers. We had one sergeant and nine gardaí. Meanwhile Dundalk, which has similar needs, has one sergeant and only five gardaí, or sometimes as few as three. We have witnessed the significant impact of the increase in numbers on the drugs squad, particularly locally. However, it is also necessary to build relationships with the community. The insufficient number of sergeants in the Dundalk area is a major difficulty, which must be resolved.

I welcome the scoping exercise led by Mr. Vivian Geiran and the communication I have had with the Minister. I welcome the fact that those directing the exercise have made themselves available for communication. I have spoken about the necessity of dealing with Dundalk as an aspect of the problems in Drogheda. Drugs are our greatest scourge. They are a pandemic that will be with us for a long time. We need to deal with it through a holistic multi-agency approach.


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