Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Malahide (Dublin) Garda Station.

4.

asked the Minister for Justice the areas Malahide Garda Station. County Dublin, is expected to serve.

5.

asked the Minister for Justice the number of gardaí attached to Malahide station, County Dublin, (a) now and (b) ten years ago.

6.

asked the Minister for Justice the time at which the Garda station at Malahide, County Dublin, closes at night and at weekends; and if he is satisfied with the position.

With the permission of the Ceann Comhairle I propose to take Questions Nos. 4 to 6, inclusive, together.

The townlands served by Malahide Garda station are set out in a tabular statement which, with the permission of the Ceann Comhairle, I propose to circulate with the Official Report. The total strength of the Garda Síochána at Malahide on 31 March 1981 was 12 as compared with nine on the corresponding date in 1971.

Malahide Garda station closes at 1 a.m. each night, including week-ends. The Garda authorities have indicated that the present opening hours of the station have been so fixed as to enable the station party to carry out the maximum amount of outdoor police duties while maintaining an adequate office service. They consider that an extension of the opening hours would not be feasible at present having regard to the current strength of the station party, but the matter is being kept under review. There are, of course, arrangements for providing a police service in the area from the district headquarters when the station at Malahide is closed. Following is the statement:—

Townlands served by Malahide Garda Station.

Abbeyville

Kinsealy

Auburn

Mabestown

Beechwood

Malahide

Broomfield

Malahide Demesne

Carrickhill

Maynetown (part)

Drumnigh

Rahulk

Drynam

Snugborough(part)

Feltrim

Robbs Walls

Grange

St. Helens

Greenwood

The Burrow

Hazlebrook

Yellow Walls

Portmarnock

Streamstown

Is the Minister aware that the Taoiseach informed the House last week that the population of this area has trebled over the last ten years whereas the station complement has increased by only three members?

I am aware that the Deputy had a question to the Taoiseach on 1 April.

Is the Minister aware that the population which the station is expected to serve has now trebled over that period?

I am very much aware of what the Deputy says. There has been quite a large increase in population in this particular area during the period the Deputy mentions.

Did the Minister inform the House that he intended to circulate a tabular statement showing the townlands which the Malahide station serves? Can he say if the area of Kinsealy is included in the administrative area of the Malahide Garda station?

It includes Streamstown, Yellow Walls, The Burrow, Robb Walls, St. Helens, Snugborough, Rahulk, Maynetown, Malahide Demesne, Malahide, Mabestown, Kinsealy, Portmarnock, Hazlebrook, Greenwood, Grange, Feltrim, Drynam, Drumnigh, Carrickhill, Broomfield, Beechwood, Auburn, and Abbeyville.

Is the Minister aware that, apart from the trebled population in the area which that station must serve, the Taoiseach also resides in Kinsealy?

I am very much aware of that fact.

Is the Minister satisfied that a station party of 12, which is an increase of only three over a ten year period, is sufficient to cater for this?

The Deputy should appreciate that the special crime prevention patrol, which was introduced last July on an overtime basis in larger urban centres with a view to combating street crime and vandalism, are operating in the Malahide area. Apart from the resources allocated to the local station the resources of the crime task force and the special task force based in Dublin Castle are available to Malahide when the need arises. The Deputy, the Minister for the Environment and others involved in community associations have raised the subject matter of this question to me. I have said that I will ask the Garda to have another look at it. I am prepared to do that. There is quite a large increase in the population and I appreciate the difficulties there are in the area. The Deputy should also appreciate that the Garda advise that it would be better if the manpower that would be needed to keep the station open from 1 o'clock were actually doing patrol work. They are having another look at it. When that examination is finished I will be in a position to tell the Deputy more about it.

Is the Minister saying there has not been any decision so far to increase the station party?

There has not been any decision to increase it. That would primarily be a matter for the Garda Commissioner.

I appreciate that and that is primarily a matter for the Minister for Justice and not the Minister for the Environment, who is reported as having said that that will happen.

I am not sure if the Deputy wants me to confirm or deny if the station force will be increased. I have not got that information with me.

7.

asked the Minister for Justice the number of (a) crimes and (b) incidents reported to Malahide Garda station, County Dublin, during (i) 1980 and (ii) 1970.

The numbers of indictable crimes reported or known to the Garda as having been committed in the Garda sub-district served by Malahide station are as follows: 1980, 174; 1970, 35.

The numbers of non-indictable offences in which proceedings were brought are: 1980, 2,800; 1970, 1,325.

Presumably by "incidents" is meant those calls on the Garda which require an input of police resources—for example, sudden deaths, fires, traffic accidents and so on. Such incidents arising in the Malahide area are reported primarily to Garda Central Control at Dublin Castle but they are also reported to Malahide station itself, to the district headquarters at Coolock, the divisional headquarters at Whitehall and may indeed be reported to any station. Statistics of such incidents cannot be readily extracted from the records at these centres and the compilation of the figures would require the expenditure of a disproportionate amount of Garda time.

Is the Minister aware that there has been quite a number of complaints recently from the Malahide area regarding the increased number of incidents there due to the lack of sufficient Garda presence?

I am not so aware. The Garda tell me that they have placed additional patrols in the area. If they tell me that extra patrols over and above what are already operating there are required, I will certainly give the matter every consideration.

How can the Garda really provide additional patrols if they have only 12 members now as opposed to nine ten years ago even though the population has trebled in the period?

The Deputy missed out what I said in my answer to the last question. We have in operation in the city since last July a system whereby quite a number of gardaí are available for additional patrols, particularly at certain times of the day or night as thought fit by the Garda authorities. These patrols have been very effective and they have been welcomed by the Garda and the community. If the Garda chief superintendent for the area feels there is a need for additional patrols over and above what are already there, provision will be made to help him out in this regard. I am quite prepared to consider that.

Does the Minister not realise that the number of crimes has increased five fold, according to the Minister's figures, in the period between now and ten years ago? Is he not aware also that Malahide is not within the city and that consequently, it may not be served by the service to which the Minister refers? The people living in Malahide are not aware of any additional patrols.

The Deputy may be assured that Malahide can be helped from the city, that it is regarded for police purposes as part of the city.

That would not appear to be the case now.

If the chief superintendent for the area considers that he has a case for additional patrols, the matter will be given every consideration.

Can the Minister indicate the number of times that this city-wide supplementary patrol has been made available for the purposes specifically of patrolling the Malahide area?

I do not have that information in this brief.

How, then, is he in a position to so confidently reassure Deputy Boland that these patrols have been made available?

Simply because I have been told by the Garda that the patrols have been made available. These are Garda management decisions.

But they have not told the Minister how.