· Minister meets Dublin business leaders to discuss their concerns
· Gardaí to rollout enhanced City Centre policing initiative
· New multi-agency ‘street outreach team’ to work with vulnerable and high-risk individuals
· New ‘Offender Management Programme’ to address repeat offending in Dublin City area
· Minister to review legislation on control of licensed premises
Thursday 18th December 2014
Frances Fitzgerald TD, Minister for Justice & Equality, has today outlined a series of measures to improve public safety in Dublin City Centre.
The Minister stated: “Dublin is a wonderful capital city and recent increases in commercial footfall and tourist numbers paint a very positive picture of a city on the rise. The Government is committed to building on these successes and to making Dublin City a great place to live, work and visit.”
The Minister yesterday met with Dublin City business leaders at the second meeting of the new Dublin City Centre Business Forum which is facilitated by Gardaí and Dublin City Council.
This followed a meeting held last Friday between the Minister and Gardaí, Dublin City Council, HSE Addiction Services and the Dublin Homelessness Executive.
The Minister stated: “I was very pleased to meet with business leaders to discuss their aspirations for the future of Dublin and to hear their concerns about a range of issues. My meetings with both business leaders and key service providers offered an important and constructive opportunity to review the initiatives already underway and to examine how all stakeholders can work together to address issues that arise.
“The Government and I are fully committed to supporting Gardaí and support services to improve public safety in Dublin City Centre. Some of the responses will focus on policing, but many others require a multi-agency approach to address underlying difficulties. Issues such as substance misuse and homelessness are among a range of ongoing and real issues that require a systemic response.”
Gardaí to rollout enhanced City Centre policing initiative
Minister Fitzgerald acknowledged the efforts of An Garda Síochána in policing the City Centre Area including the ongoing implementation of the ‘Dublin City Centre Policing Plan'.
The Minister noted that “at yesterday’s meeting, business leaders all commended Gardaí on a series of recent operations which have focused on providing an enhanced policing presence in city centre areas.”
The Minister continued: “I want to see more of this high-visibility frontline policing and I have discussed this matter directly with the Garda Commissioner who has recognised the importance of this approach.
“As a result Gardaí will be rolling-out enhanced City Centre policing initiatives with a focus on a high-visibility uniformed presence on key thoroughfares and busy City Centre areas; as well as the use of covert undercover Gardaí as appropriate.”
The Minister welcomed the increased Garda activity in targeting the supply of illegal drugs in the area, with increased numbers of drug seizures and searches. The Minister noted that, according to the provisional statistics from the Garda Síochána Analysis Service for the first nine months of the year, the total number of drug searches is up 5% in the North Central division and up 24% in the South Central division
The Minister added that “urban centres such as Dublin City Centre will benefit from the reopening of the Garda College in Templemore.”
In September, 100 new recruits entered Garda College in Templemore. These were the first new entrants since recruitment was shut down in 2009. On Budget Day, the Minister announced two further intakes of recruits to Garda College. The first of these two next intakes entered Templemore in recent days. Another intake will enter Templemore in the New Year. The Minister will continue to monitor Garda staffing levels during 2015 with a view to agreeing further intakes to Garda College as required.
New ‘Street Outreach Team’
Minister Fitzgerald welcomed the recent establishment of a multi-agency ‘street outreach’ team involving Gardaí and staff from the Anna Liffey Drugs Project, HSE Addiction Services and Dublin City Council.
The Minister explained that this team will “work to identify, approach and engage with vulnerable and high-risk individuals and to address the perceived negative impact that this group has on the City Centre.”
The team has, since its establishment in September, engaged with 87 individuals.
Government’s 20 point plan on Homelessness will address problems on our streets
At yesterday’s meeting with Dublin business leaders, Minister Fitzgerald said that "the Government’s 20 point plan on Homelessness will also help to address problems on our streets."
The Minister referred specifically to:
· Plans to provide 260 additional emergency beds before Christmas;
· The establishment this week of a new Nite Café, which will provide food, rest area and showers throughout the night, 7 days a week; and
· The provision of services to transport homeless persons to emergency accommodation and provide them with the necessary health and care supports in conjunction with other State providers.
New ‘Offender Management Programme’
Minister Fitzgerald welcomed the piloting of a new multi-agency ‘Offender Management Programme’ in the Dublin City area. This follows on from the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Gardaí, the Irish Prison Service & Probation Service.
The Minister stated: “This new programme will bring a fresh approach to tracking the progress of offenders who have gone through the criminal justice system. It will ensure that appropriate interventions are provided, with the ultimate aim of reducing re-offending. This will be particularly helpful in tackling problems in the City Centre caused by repeat offenders who are very often known to both Gardaí and businesses.”
Minister to review legislation on control of licensed premises
At yesterday’s meeting with Dublin business leaders, the Minister agreed to review legislation on the control of licensed premises.
The Minister stated: “My Department is already working on a comprehensive Sale of Alcohol Bill. However in light of the feedback from business leaders regarding the significant increase in the number of premises selling alcohol and the impact this can have in terms of fuelling street-based anti-social behaviour, I will review the planned legislation. I am particularly keen to address the perceived lack of coordination between the liquor licensing regime and the planning and development system; particular in term of the granting of new licences.”
Note for Editors:
The Dublin City Centre Business Forum is independently chaired by retired Assistant Commissioner Michael McCarthy. The Forum comprises representatives of:
· Dublin City Business Association;
· Dublin Chamber of Commerce;
· Dublin Town BIDS company;
· Restaurant Association of Ireland;
· Licensed Vintners Association;
· Temple Bar Company;
· Irish Hotels Federation.