Seanad debates

Wednesday, 28 February 2024

Community Safety and Investment: Motion [Private Members]


10:30 am

Photo of Maria ByrneMaria Byrne (Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Minister of State for coming to the House to discuss this important motion. I compliment our colleagues in the Labour Party for bringing it forward. The thrust of the motion is about stronger and safer communities. I was at a residents' meeting on Monday night and I would like to compliment our two community gardaí who attended. In the WhatsApp group for our area an issue was highlighted, and one of the gardaí visited the area as he was driving around. In some areas community policing is working but in other areas it is not. I can understand the sentiments and fully support what our colleagues are talking about. There needs to be more community gardaí because having a Garda presence on the street provides people with a sense of security, especially older people.

Reference has been made to the youth diversion programme throughout the discussion on the motion. At the meeting I attended on Monday, an issue that was highlighted involved youths aged 10 and 11 kicking the doors of the homes of older people, sitting on their windowsills and doing other things. That needs to be addressed. The youth diversion programme is wonderful, but underage children need to be dealt with. That is something that needs to be considered in a different light. References have been made to sport. Getting people involved in sport keeps them off the streets. Children are almost taunting one another to go and knock on people's doors and annoy older people. It is not right that people should have to tolerate that.

I would like to compliment community gardaí and the Minister, Deputy McEntee, who has left the Chamber. I recently brought the Minister to meet a group of businesses in Limerick. There are many issues with scramblers, reference to which has been made already. Within a week of her visit, 40 scramblers were confiscated. The chief superintendent in Limerick was present at the meeting and the issues highlighted were addressed and listened to. If we had more community gardaí on the streets, we would have a stronger and safer community, especially in urban areas. There are many diverse communities, in particular in urban areas. I would like to see the programme rolled out more extensively.


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