As the Minister of State, Deputy Stanton, knows, I sought yesterday to adjourn Dáil Éireann to address the subject matter of this Topical Issue, which is for the Government to take all urgent steps to resource An Garda Síochána and to introduce any necessary legislation to end the appalling series of murders on the north side of Dublin in recent months.
Last week, communities I represent were devastated to hear of two more dastardly assassinations of young men, allegedly by gangs involved in the illegal drugs trade. One of those savage murders took place in broad daylight last Wednesday afternoon just outside our infants’ school, crèche and church in Darndale Belcamp parish and the tragic victim had been wheeling his child in a buggy just before he ran for his life and was brutally murdered. The area where this outrageous act took place is just beside our Darndale Belcamp village centre, our Sphere 17 youth centre and our local Belcamp tenants’ organisation, BESC, where I have held my weekly meetings with constituents for the past 25 years.
This appalling murder follows closely on a similar savage execution in north Fingal, and another earlier dastardly murder of a local citizen and family man on his way to work at 6 a.m. a few months ago, which I raised with the Taoiseach in February. As the Minister of State knows, RTÉ and Dublin Live have reported there has been another barbarous gun murder in Kilmore parish in Coolock just a few minutes ago, again in broad daylight and in total defiance of our community. This litany of gun murders across north and west Dublin and Kildare going back a few months beforehand is a direct threat to our Republic and democracy and it needs the Minister of State and the Government to vigorously address and bring those responsible for this appalling and cavalier lack of respect for human life to immediate justice and to take the stern steps that are necessary.
In the case of the parish affected last week, I have been deeply proud to represent Darndale Belcamp parish for over a quarter of a century and indeed all the neighbouring parishes of the greater Coolock area, including Kilmore. The wonderful people of Darndale Belcamp and their community leaders have produced a caring and progressive local infrastructure since the estate was developed in the 1970s. At the behest of the people themselves, the estate was largely redesigned, and on their own initiative, Darndale Belcamp village centre was built with the support of the European Union and Dublin City Council, DCC, about 18 years ago. Our local primary schools, youth centre, tenants and the Dales Centre alongside the New Life Centre and our parish of Our Lady Immaculate have all provided a great fulcrum for our vibrant local community. Just recently, we had a fundraising football match between our local Darndale Football Club and the great Glasgow Celtic Legends team.
This community is shocked and exasperated by this cruel and brutal gun murder, as I am sure Kilmore parish just south of Darndale is today. The longstanding peace of north Coolock was seriously disrupted from the summer of 2017 with an outbreak of anti-social and criminal behaviour including joyriding, dumping and intimidation. Our Dublin metropolitan region, DMR, north Garda Síochána and local community leaders have made huge efforts to curtail this appalling behaviour and I asked the Minister for Justice and Equality, Deputy Flanagan, and the Taoiseach to ensure that An Garda Síochána had all the necessary resources, in particular for community and traffic policing and for specialist units like the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau and for Garda actions such as Operation Hybrid.
Will these efforts be redoubled and all necessary funding and personnel be provided to Commissioner Harris? I am aware the Criminal Justice Acts need to be revisited, that there are a number of actions on the clár and we had the recent Supreme Court judgment on mandatory sentences, which seems to some extent to be a challenge to this Oireachtas. Is the Minister, Deputy Flanagan, planning specific legislation to tackle gun crime, gang crime and the level of homicides in the State which number up to 80 and more in recent years? What additional resources can also be provided for early education supports and community development given the major cuts to so many services?
Today's outrage in the past few hours makes it critical that the Government's response be vigorous and that it bring this disgraceful and appalling mayhem to an end.