I thank the Deputies for raising this important issue. The Minister for Justice, Deputy McEntee, and I utterly condemn the deplorable violent attacks that took place in Dublin city centre over Easter and wish the victims of these incidents a healthy recovery. People should be able to feel safe and be safe, whether they live or work in Dublin, or want to visit and enjoy our capital city.
I urge anyone who may have witnessed these or any other violent incidents in Dublin city recently, or who may have any information of potential interest to An Garda Síochána, to contact the Garda. Reports can also be made through the Garda confidential line on 1800 666 111.
I can assure the Deputies that matters of community safety are taken very seriously by the Government and Departments and agencies are continually exploring policy, legislative and operational measures to combat all forms of violence.
This Government’s commitment to tackle public disorder-related issues and anti-social behaviour is reflected in Justice Plan 2022, which the Minister for Justice published recently. The plan contains a number of actions relating to combatting crime and strengthening community safety, including those relating to the ongoing work of the anti-social behaviour forum, the progression of the Policing, Security and Community Safety Bill and the continuing implementation of the youth justice strategy 2021-2027.
Gardaí continue to implement high-visibility policing plans to address public disorder-related issues and antisocial behaviour in Dublin city centre, with particular overt and targeted policing of public places at times when public order incidents and antisocial behaviour typically increase, such as bank holiday weekends. The Deputies will, of course, appreciate that the allocation of Garda resources is a matter for the Garda Commissioner. However, the Deputy may wish to note that Garda members and Garda staff in both Dublin metropolitan region, DMR, north central and south central have seen an increase in resources since 2012. North central had an increase of over 2% for Garda members and 67.5% for Garda staff, and south central had an increase of over 2% for Garda members and 281% for Garda staff.
In addition, a range of Garda operations are in place in Dublin city centre to tackle violent and antisocial behaviour in our capital. Operation Citizen commenced in Dublin city centre in October 2021 and places a particular focus on antisocial behaviour, public order and quality-of-life issues, assaults and high-volume crimes, and involves increased visible policing, particularly at key locations. Operation Saul, launched in January this year, supports Operation Citizen in targeting antisocial behaviour to provide a safe environment for commuters utilising public transport services within the Dublin metropolitan region. Operation Soteria is also in place to ensure a reduction of assaults in public, reduce fear of violence within communities, prioritise assault investigations and focus on problem areas and assault hotspots.
As the Deputies will be aware, north inner-city Dublin is also one of three pilot locations where local community safety partnerships have been established. These partnerships bring together residents, community representatives, business interests, councillors, local authorities and State services, such as An Garda Síochána, Tusla and the HSE, to devise and implement local community safety plans. The plans detail how best the community can prevent crime and will reflect community priorities and local safety issues. The aim of this approach is to make communities safer for families, residents and businesses. The Minister, Deputy McEntee, and I believe the experience and results of the partnership pilots will inform national roll-out and make a valuable contribution to Dublin city centre as a whole.
The Government, and the Department of Justice in particular, are prioritising continued momentum in the vital work to make our communities safer. Budget 2022 provided significant additional funding to deliver a host of initiatives under the youth justice strategy, and the community safety innovation fund, announced recently by the Minister, will also support community-based initiatives to enhance public safety.