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Dáil Éireann debate -
Thursday, 26 Mar 1987

Vol. 371 No. 4

Ceisteanna—Questions Oral Answers. - Patrol of Seán McDermott Street Area.


asked the Minister for Justice if special efforts will be made by the Garda to patrol the Seán McDermott Street area particularly between St. Mary's Mansions and Lourdes church at night as this area has become a "no-go" area where even the local residents live in fear; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

The Garda authorities refute any suggestion that the Seán McDermott Street area is a "no-go" area. They inform me that the area receives constant attention from foot and mobile patrols operated by Garda uniformed and plainclothes units. They inform me also that the effectiveness of the policing arrangements for the area is closely monitored so that any necessary special measures can be taken to deal with any particular problems which arise.

I am amazed at the Minister's response and I am sure that other Deputies present who represent the area will bear out what I have to say. I am sure the Minister is aware that the area I have mentioned is a very precise area. It is only a stone's throw away from O'Connell Street. I appreciate that the Minister is going on the reply that he received from the Garda but this area is unsafe to pass at night time. Indeed, many people believe it unsafe to pass in the day time.

I am awaiting a question.

I am leading up to a question. I do not think we are too pressed for time.

That is irrelevant.

Is the Minister aware of the sense of serious grievance on the part of local residents who have to endure such incidents as gangs of youths congregating at this location nightly, lighting fires on the footpath, stolen cars in the area, muggings and even serious assaults, all, I emphasise, with no Garda presence whatever despite what the Minister has said.

The Deputy seems to be imparting a great deal of information rather than seeking it.

I am asking if the Minister is aware of this. Furthermore, is the Minister aware that a very short distance from this area in day time in the Henry Street-North Earl Street area large numbers of gardaí from Store Street station, which covers both areas, are available to chase women pushing prams and trying to sell flowers——

I cannot allow this trend to continue. The Deputy may not make a speech. He may ask a succinct question.

I am asking the Minister if he is aware of the disproportionate use of gardaí in this area from the same station where by day time on one issue — which I have mentioned and I will not go through it again in deference to you Sir — there are an abundance of gardaí while at night time——

The Deputy is going off on a tangent again. I shall have to ask him to resume his seat if he continues.

I am coming back to the question: while at night time——

The Deputy may not circumvent the ruling of the Chair. I will not tolerate it.

I know that you will not and I will not try to do so. Is the Minister aware that at this location at night time there is no Garda presence at all despite the information that has been made available?

The Deputy is repeating himself. That ought to be sufficient.

I am informed by the Garda that they do not accept the implication of the Deputy's question that the area referred to is a "no-go" area. They inform me that the area is patrolled constantly and, further, that while the crime statistics for the Seán McDermott Street area are not maintained on a separate basis, the Garda are satisfied from the statistics available to them that there was a reduction in the overall crime rate in the Store Street Garda sub-district in 1985 and 1986 and that this trend is continuing in 1987. I am informed that crime prevention in the area is receiving particular attention and that special measures are taken to deal with any particular problems that arise. I am also satisfied from the information I have that there are sufficient gardaí in the area to do what has to be done and that they have all facilities by way of cars, transport etc. to help them do a successful job.

Would the Minister comment on whether the remarks and implications of the statement of the Minister for Finance with regard to recruitment in the public service will have any effect——

Surely this does not arise on this question.

In respect of his proposals for the recruitment——

If the Deputy wants to ask a question of that nature he ought to put it down.

I understood that the implication of Deputy Gregory's question related to manning levels within the Garda Síochána and I wondered if the Minister had any plans in regard to the expansion or contraction of Garda numbers, as the Minister for Finance indicated to the House yesterday.

Question No. 1 is rather precise.

That is a separate question.