There is a growing sense that the Government is losing the battle against crime. People now regularly complain of the lack of gardaí on our streets, the easy tolerance of drug abuse, the open selling of drugs - including transactions on our streets and on public transport - and people injecting drugs in plain sight. People also complain about the growth in antisocial behaviour on streets and in parks. The Garda lacks basic resources such as technology, equipment and cars to deal with all of this. The barbaric attack on Kevin Lunney and the years of unchecked intimidation against his fellow directors is, perhaps, the worst manifestation of this issue. We discussed that matter on Leaders' Questions previously. In Lucan, a man was brutally murdered in a housing estate on the night before last. I have been out with Councillor Shane Moynihan across Dublin Mid-West in recent weeks and people on the doorsteps are articulating their concerns and anxiety about crime and antisocial behaviour. They make this point to us regularly and they sense a growing tolerance for antisocial behaviour and the developing drugs culture.
There was an incredible and unsavoury event in Cork recently. Up to 100 masked young people gathered in the city centre. This was incited through a social media message entitled "JD Cork City Robbery". The message gave the location and the attire required. The message read:
You must wear all black with bally and gloves. You only have 1 minute to yam that shop. This is at your own risk. Don’t come if you can’t run.
This planned raid was similar to events held in Belgium, London and Holland. We should be thankful that An Garda Síochána intercepted these messages through its monitoring of social media but it necessitated the presence of members of the public order unit and many other gardaí to stop the raid happening. The fact is that 100 youths actually responded to this call on social media. What does that reflect? I am of the view that it reflects a lack of fear of or concern with regard to our authorities and the consequences of such behaviour.
People everywhere tell us that drug transactions are commonplace on the Luas, on other public transport and on the streets. Those involved seem to have no fear of the consequences. Individuals are injecting openly on our streets. Cocaine use is up 30%. Over the past year, there have been far too many killings and brutal attacks on innocent people, including young people coming home from a night out and the homeless, who are the most vulnerable of all.
Does the Government acknowledge this growing sense of anxiety among the public regarding crime, antisocial behaviour and the increasing tolerance for an open trade in illicit drugs? Is our legislation robust enough to deal with incitement to rioting and looting via social media? Will the Minister commit the Government to strengthening our laws in that respect, particularly the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994, as the United Kingdom has done?