Check Against Delivery

 

Topical Issue Debate

Thursday, 10 May 2018.

 

“The urgent need for the Minister for Justice and Equality to outline what urgent steps are being taken to end serious criminal vandalism at Clongriffin Dart Station (and following a shocking attack on a Dart train) earlier this week.”

- Deputy Thomas Broughan.

 

A Cheann Comhairle,

 

I am pleased to be here today to take this Topical Issue Debate and I would like to thank the Deputy for raising this very important issue.

 

I am of course aware of the serious incident that took place earlier this week concerning a number of youths who vandalised a DART train as it arrived into Clongriffin station. The youths in question then proceeded to engage in other serious anti-social behaviour and accost members of the public. This is completely unacceptable behaviour and will not be tolerated. I am advised that this incident is now the subject of an official investigation by An Garda Síochána, in conjunction with Irish Rail, with CCTV footage being reviewed to help identify the culprits. Photographs were also taken at the scene of the ‘graffiti tags’ which are also being circulated in order to identify any links with known graffiti offenders and I would encourage anyone with information about this incident to contact An Garda Síochána as soon as possible

 

In terms of tackling this particular type of crime, I am advised by An Garda Síochána that Garda management engages extensively with transport operators and a range of regional and local operations have been put in place to address incidents and issues that have arisen at specific locations.  There is ongoing communication between An Garda Síochána and the respective control centres, and access to good quality CCTV helps provide assistance to Gardaí when investigating serious incidents, such as what we saw in Clongriffin earlier this week.

 

Furthermore, the Deputy will be aware that An Garda Síochána already employs a wide range of operational measures aimed at tackling public-order offences and anti-social behaviour. These measures are underpinned by the existence of a comprehensive legal framework, which assists the Gardaí in tackling this type of crime. Of course, addressing local community concerns in relation to public order and anti-social behaviour is a key focus in An Garda Síochána's National Community Policing Model and a range of strong legislative provisions are available to An Garda Síochána in this regard, including those under:

 

-           the Criminal Damage Act 1991;

-           Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994;

-           the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 2003; and

-           the Intoxicating Liquor Acts 2003 and 2008.

 

A Cheann Comhairle, the type of behaviour we witnessed in Clongriffin this week has no place in civilised society. For its part, the Government remains committed to ensuring that An Garda Síochána have all the necessary resources to tackle all forms of criminality in our communities. In this context, the Deputy will be aware that some €1.65 billion has been allocated to the Garda Vote for 2018 and €98.5m has been provided for Garda overtime for 2018, which will also assist with Garda operations to tackle the type of problems we saw this week.

 

The Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and to deter crime.  Budget 2018 will support the continuation of this high level of investment in the Garda workforce and ensure that the vision of an overall workforce of 21,000 by 2021 remains on track.