82. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Justice and Equality her plans for the Garda Síochána to introduce a public order unit for Dublin; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42400/15]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the deployment of Garda personnel and for the management and organisation of Garda operational units. I am assured that Garda management in the Dublin Metropolitan Region keep this deployment under continuing review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities, including with respect to concerns about public order and anti-social behaviour, so as to ensure that the best possible use is made of policing resources. The very significant additional Garda resources which the Government is now making available will undoubtedly support enhanced policing and public safety in all areas, including Dublin City.
I am advised by the Garda authorities that a Public Order Unit is in place in the Dublin Metropolitan Region since 2004, and is deployed as required. The Unit is highly skilled and trained to deal with public order incidents of all gravity up to and including riot. In addition, the Deputy will be aware that An Garda Síochána have developed a clear strategy to address public order concerns within the framework of the Dublin City Centre Policing Plan which has been operational since June 2013. Garda actions under the Plan include dedicated high visibility patrols in key commercial and public thoroughfares. These patrols are informed by crime trends, demand studies and footfall in the areas in question, and include dedicated patrols on weekend nights to deal with public order issues in the city centre.
The Garda approach includes focusing resources on specific areas of the city according to need. As part of this, a number of targeted city centre policing operations are in place. These operations include Operation Spire, which provides for a high visibility policing presence specifically on O’Connell Street at critical times to address anti-social behaviour, drug dealing and related crime. The operation is designed as a preventative measure and the area is patrolled by uniform patrols supplemented as required by Crime Prevention Unit and Divisional Crime Task Force personnel. The City Centre policing plan is also supported by other operations including Operation Pier which focuses on the Pearse Street District, as well as Operation Viking and Operation Clean Streets which further target the sale and supply of illicit drugs in the city centre.
Addressing the factors which contribute to public order issues also requires communication and cooperation with a range of relevant stakeholders and An Garda Síochána engages extensively with business and community interests with respect to crime prevention, enforcement and policing concerns.