Thursday, 3 June 2021
Department of Justice and Equality
I can assure the Deputy that I am very conscious of how anti-social behaviour affects the quality of life for individuals and for local communities.
The safety of citizens remains a priority for An Garda Síochána and Community Gardaí are present in and available to all communities. I am informed that there is ongoing liaison with community leaders and schools to discourage anti-social behaviour, along with engagement with residents associations and communities to drive a partnership response to issues.
My Department's Justice Plan 2021 contains a number of commitments with regard to tackling anti-social behaviour.
In line with a commitment in the Programme for Government, I have established a special expert forum on antisocial behaviour. A subgroup of this forum has already helped inform a new scheme to tackle the misuse of scramblers and quadbikes and similar sub groups can also be established for other issues where appropriate.
On 15 April last, Minister McEntee and I also launched the new Youth Justice Strategy 2021-2027. This new strategy will respond collaboratively to the situation of vulnerable children and young people, with a strong focus on diverting them away from offending, and building supports to provide prevention and early intervention.
The Strategy will seek to increase the range and quality of supports available to support positive personal development and behavioural change to lead to positive outcomes for the young people involved and their families.
This will be achieved through strengthening and enhancing the supports provided through the existing network of 105 Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDPs) around the country. The geographical coverage of the service will be expanded so that, within two years, it is available to every child in the State who could benefit from it. In particular, GYDP services will be enhanced to provide:
- early intervention and engagement with more challenging children and young people whose needs may be too complex for the existing GYDP services;
- family support;
- engagement with younger children (8-11 years); and
- support to schools in relation to the retention of young people with challenging behaviour in the education system.
While Garda Youth Diversion Projects primarily receive referrals from An Garda Síochána, they may receive referrals from other sources including schools, parents or self-referrals.
Anti-social behaviour will also be considered by the local community safety partnerships which are to be set up in every local authority under my Department’s new community safety policy. Three pilot partnerships are currently being established in Dublin’s north inner city, Longford and Waterford and will run for the next two years, ahead of the nationwide rollout.