Today, I joined Councillors from across the city to meet with the Assistant Garda Commissioner for the Dublin Metropolitan Region to raise issues of concern to our constituents but also secure updates on the work being undertaken by the Gardai across the city.
While I missed the beginning of the Garda report, as Niamh and I were tag-teaming in looking after our little man whose sick, I availed of the opportunity to raise a variety of issues and seek commitments from the Gardai to tackle challenges facing local communities and Dubliners across the city.
Firstly, in terms of Halloween and how it is policed, will, I believe, prove to be the most challenging for at least a decade. In some areas, I am concerned that the Gardai and the City Council may have already lost that challenge. So, I sought the following commitments:
- Halloween community reassurance patrols to be in situ across the Bridewell district from tomorrow, be in place across every policing district of the city also.
- That a multi-divisional response or operation to be put in place to identify those involved in the illegal sale and supply of fireworks and bangers so that officers from Blanchardstown to Mountjoy to Irishtown and Inchicore work together and apprehend those involved.
In response, I can confirm that:
- Dedicated Halloween community patrols within the Bridewell district (Including Stoneybatter, Montpelier, Infirmary Road, Arbour Hill, Markets, Rathdown Road, etc.) will begin tomorrow (October 1st) and will operate between 4pm and 4am daily. This will involve officers maintaining a highly visible presence across the district.
- Operation Tombola will continue until November 1st and will involve at least one Sergeant and four officers per SAP (Small Areas Policing).
- Crime Prevention Units will be tasked with Halloween related actions in addition to the initiatives they are already focusing on.
- Additional resources and personnel will be drafted into police identified ‘hotspots’ in a 24/7 way a week out from Halloween.
- Multi-divisional operations are being put in place to identify main players in the sale and supply of illegal fireworks and bangers.
Secondly, in respect of Community Policing in the North Inner City and across the city, I expressed my concern that the progress which has been made in recent years is being jeopardised. Why? Partly due to the changed Garda rostering following the introduction of Lockdown in April and May has meant that community offers are not out on the beat when they are needed. I also made the suggestion that in each district, a dedicated Community Response Team and a separate Community Engagement Team be established to deal with problems as they arise in an immediate way but can also be followed up on by a dedicated team of officers focused on outreach with the community.
In response, I understand that:
- Community Policing changes will be introduced across the North Inner City and Cabra Glasnevin areas across the next week to involve targeted and dedicated response and engagement teams to build on the success of the community policing model that has been in place across Dublin Central over the last ten years.
- When further details is made available to me, I’ll share that information locally.
- The issue of Garda rostering is being examined and reviewed by Deputy Commissioner. Nonetheless, it is an issue that I will be pursuing with the Minister for Justice and the Garda Commissioner this week.
With regards to other policing matters across the North Inner City, I can confirm the following:
- Targeted operations to address drug dealing within the Bridewell district are ongoing. Initiatives focusing on O’Devaney Gardens, Drumalee, Arbour Hill and Hanlons’ Corner areas.
- Significant seizures of drugs have taken place in recent weeks which has had an effect but the Gardai will be maintaining the level of operations in place for the foreseeable future.
- Community Officers from Mountjoy / Fitzgibbon Street district have been involved in a number of dedicated initiatives along Charleville Mall and North Strand areas to combat problems with anti-social behaviour there.
- Increased Garda presence led by a Community Garda Sergeant to address anti-social and intimidating behaviour along the Royal Canal greenway, that opened during the summer.
- As part of Operation Tombola, community policing personnel have been calling to Gardiner Street Primary School, Temple Street Children’s’ A&E and other local schools to highlight the risks associated with illegal fireworks and bangers.
- Action is being taken by the Gardai to counteract problems with organising begging and intimidation of older people along the Manor Street and Prussia Street areas of Stoneybatter.
- An additional highly visible Garda presence along O’Connell Street will be maintained as a means of reassuring those using the street following the highlighting of concerns about personal safety along O’Connell Street and adjoining streets.
- The Chief Superintendent in the North Inner City has committed to further action to rectify the situation on Infirmary Road and other streets across the city like Kevin Street were Garda vehicles are repeatedly parked on the footpath. Separately, I have been advised that officers involved or found responsible will be removed from driving activities by their respective Superintendents.
The final issue has become a particular bug-bearer of mine in recent months. At a time when the City Council is working with the National Transport Authority to imprfove mobility and enhance accessibility, we cannot continue to have a situation where some Garda officers continuously ignore those measures by parking vehciles for hours on end on the footpaths in and around the Criminal Courts of Justice. I have been pursuign this for some time and welcome the Garda response today but time will tell whether this behaviour improves. If it doesn’t, I will seek the support of the Council to install bollards along Infirmary Road between Montpelier Gardems and the junction with Parkgate Street.
I will be meeting with the Chief Superintendent and the local Superintendents for the North Inner City again on October 12th next. If you have any particular questions or queries that you would like me to put to the Gardai, please email me in advance at RayMcAdam@gmail.com. Equally, if you would like more information in respect of the updates above, please get in touch.
Arbour Hill, Ballybough, Broadstone, Church Street, City Centre, Clonliffe Road, Constitution Hill, Drumcondra, Dublin City Council, East Wall, Fine Gael, Grangegorman, Markets, Montpelier, North Circular Road, North Strand, North Wall, Phibsborough, Policing, Quays, Rathdown Road, Smithfield, Stoneybatter
Fine Gael Councillor - North Inner City
Leader, Fine Gael, Dublin City Council
Chair, Urban Form & Planning Strategic Policy Committee