Written answers

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Department of Justice and Equality

Crime Prevention

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Leader of the Opposition; Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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691. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to combat the rise in crime in the north inner city area of Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12657/21]

Photo of Mary Lou McDonaldMary Lou McDonald (Leader of the Opposition; Dublin Central, Sinn Fein)
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692. To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her plans in relation to combating the rise in crime in the north inner city of Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12661/21]

Photo of Helen McEnteeHelen McEntee (Meath East, Fine Gael)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 691 and 692 together.

As the Deputy will be aware, tackling crime in our communities is a priority for this government and for An Garda Síochána. As part of Budget 2021, the government has provided a record €1.952 billion to an Garda Síochána in their efforts to tackle crime and to build community resilience against crime.

The Deputy may also be aware that I recently met with the Garda Commissioner where we discussed, amongst other topics, violent crime in the inner city of Dublin. An Garda Síochána has a comprehensive policing plan in place in the north inner city which will see high visibility patrols carried out on a daily basis, with a particular focus on areas where public order and related offending has recently taken place.

In respect of drug related crime, the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau (GNDOCB) is having significant success in disrupting drug trafficking and the supply of illicit drugs by organised crime groups. Its work is supported by Divisional Drugs Units nationwide, and by all Gardaí working in local communities including in Dublin. It also works closely and productively with international law enforcement partners.

The Government has in place the National Drugs Strategy, "Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery - a health led response to drug and alcohol use in Ireland 2017-2025". The Strategy is unique among national drugs strategies across EU Member States in recognising the need to address drug-related debt intimidation at a community level.

The Strategy includes an action which specifically relates to strengthening the effectiveness of the Drug-Related Intimidation Reporting Programme. The programme, which was developed by An Garda Síochána in partnership with the National Family Support Network (NFSN) to respond to the needs of drug users and family members who may be subject to the threat of drug related intimidation, has been implemented on a national level since 2013.

I am informed that funding in Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR), North Central Division for Garda Youth Diversion Projects and activities has increased from €566,236 in 2018 to an allocation of €1.2m in 2021. Alongside this increase in funding, the currently funded projects are being provided with increased staffing and support to increase their catchment areas to cover the majority of the DMR, North Central area. This is part of the overall objective of my Department to increase and develop the Garda Youth Diversion Project (GYDP) network to ensure access to all young people that need the service nationally.

The Deputy will also be aware that the issue of youth crime is addressed in the draft Youth Justice Strategy 2020-2026, which I intend to finalise and bring to Government shortly. This will consider the full range of issues connected to children and young people at risk of coming into contact with the criminal justice system. This will include early intervention and preventative work, family support and diversion from crime, through to court processes and facilities, supervision of offenders, detention and reintegration and support post release.

Minister of State James Browne has also established a special expert forum on antisocial behaviour, which will consider the effectiveness of existing legislation and propose new ways forward, including new powers for An Garda Síochána and additional interventions to support parenting of offenders.

It is worth noting that the North Inner City Electoral Area is one of three locations (along with Waterford and Longford) due to pilot the Department’s new Local Community Safety Partnership approach.

The Partnerships will bring together residents, community representatives, business interests, councillors, local authorities and State services such as An Garda Síochána, Tusla and the HSE to devise and implement the Local Community Safety Plans. This approach is aimed at bringing all of the key services together with the communities they serve to jointly identify and tackle the problems facing their particular area. A community – such as the North Inner City – often has a range of resources available and the Partnership can act as a means to bring those resources together, and identify and address gaps where necessary. Cormac Ó Donnchú was recently appointed Chair to the Dublin North Inner City partnership. A process of community engagement will commence this month with a view to having the partnership established in April.

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