I take this opportunity to welcome a major new report on car crime and joyriding, "The Nature and Impact of Joyriding in Priorswood", by Michael Rush, Paula Brudell and Aogan Mulcahy of the school of applied social science at UCD, which was prepared for the Priorswood taskforce on joyriding, of which I am former member. The report was launched at a well attended seminar at the Hilton Hotel in Clare Hall, Dublin 17, chaired by Pádraig White, the long time chairman of Coolock Development Council and outgoing chairman of the Northside Partnership. Many local residents attended, including young people, and agency and community leaders, including our local Garda inspector, Mr. Dónal Waters, and Dublin city area manager, Mr. Declan Wallace.
The report is commendable because it is based on the views, experiences and feelings of local residents and of some young people who participate in the activity, not just the views of an expert group coming to tell a local community how things are when they have no real idea what is happening on the ground.
In the past 20 years, the community in this and similar areas in my constituency have suffered greatly from the criminal behaviour where cars are either bought or stolen to be used for joyriding until they are destroyed. I raised this issue more than 30 times with the Taoiseach on the Order of Business in the 28th Dáil and brought two Bills into the House to make the Government face up to the legal problems caused by this activity.
The taskforce on joyriding was established in 1998 and covers the parish of Priorswood, which along with Belcamp and Darndale parishes makes up the north Coolock area. The report makes clear that the causes of joyriding are complex, particularly because this deviant and criminal behaviour has persisted for so long. The issues that emerge in the report show again that even in the current era, the area still experiences profound socioeconomic disadvantage. In the past it had unemployment rates of up to 80% and there is a major lack of educational and recreational facilities for young people. The design of estates facilitated joyriding and other criminal behaviour. I mentioned this on several occasions but a member of Fianna Fáil told me I was wasting Dáil time by raising this issue, a disgraceful comment on an attempt to give voice to a major problem that affects significant parts of Dublin, Cork and Limerick.
A positive development in this report is the analysis of the views of 26 young people ranging in age from 11 to 23 years, all of whom were proud of their area but who also noted that it still experiences serious disadvantage in terms of recreation and other facilities. The young people who were spoken to, one of whom addressed the report's launch, mentioned over and over the social context of joyriding, with young people acting as audiences for serious criminal behaviour.
It is also noteworthy that the views of senior residents of the estate were canvassed and that they raised the ongoing desperate situations in which many people found themselves as a result of harassment linked to car crime and other antisocial behaviour. Their children's educational attainment was often seriously damaged by the mayhem in the streets, mayhem that would not have been tolerated in most other areas. The cost is also mentioned, along with the danger of being present in an area where joyriding was taking place. My experience echoes that; I came across a scene where a child had just been killed and another seriously injured 15 years ago, which sparked my interest in this deviant behaviour.
The Ministers for Justice, Equality and Law Reform and Health and Children should examine this report in detail and consider how its recommendations could be implemented. It is the fourth report on this phenomenon and it also refers to the new phenomenon of boy racers and dangerous driving. Yesterday my party leader spoke of a Marshall Plan for areas like Priorswood, which is precisely what the Government needs to do, as the Minister of State knows from his own constituency.