Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Questions (483, 485, 486)

Terence Flanagan

Question:

483. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has had any discussions with An Garda Síochána regarding the reopening of a homeless hostel just off O'Connell Street, at Cedar House on Marlborough Place; if it has confirmed it will increase patrols in the area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30725/13]

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Terence Flanagan

Question:

485. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to concerns of business owners that there has been a significant increase in anti-social behaviour in Dublin 1 following the reopening of a homeless hostel in Cedar House on Marlborough Place and that this increase in anti-social behaviour could lead to a loss of business and job losses; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30729/13]

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Terence Flanagan

Question:

486. Deputy Terence Flanagan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he will confirm if An Garda Síochána will consider taking a zero tolerance approach to anti-social behaviour, including drug taking and dealing, on the north inner city streets in order to successfully tackle the ongoing problems in this area (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30731/13]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 483, 485 and 486 together.

I am informed by the Garda authorities that the area referred to is located within the Store Street Garda District. Local Garda management is aware of the concerns expressed by business associations and individual businesses in relation to the matters referred to by the Deputy and is putting in place appropriate responses. The area is subject to twenty-four hour foot and mobile patrols including uniform high visibility personnel, plain clothes personnel, the Crime Task Force and the Drug and Crime Prevention Units. Local Garda Management closely monitor such patrols, and other operational strategies in place, in conjunction with crime trends and policing needs of the communities to ensure optimum use is made of Garda resources, and the best possible Garda service is provided to local communities. A number of policing initiatives have been put in place by local Garda management to prevent and disrupt anti-social behaviour, including the sale, distribution and use of drugs in the locality. These initiatives have been acknowledged by the local business community as resulting in a reduction of such behaviour. In particular, a High Visibility Policing Plan is in place within the Dublin city area. Dedicated high visibility patrols are conducted in key thoroughfares at strategic times, as dictated by crime trends and foot fall for these areas. These measures will be subject to close monitoring by local Garda management and will be continually reviewed to ensure they target prevailing trends.

I am further informed that there are a number of specific Operations in place in the North Inner City which actively combat anti-social behaviour. Operation Stilts is an ongoing Garda operation to intensively police affected areas including O’ Connell Street, Marlborough Street, Talbot Street, North Earl St, Abbey St, Eden Quay, the Boardwalk, Wolfe Tone Street, Parnell Street and adjacent side streets to prevent and disrupt the activities of those involved in anti-social behaviour and drug dealing. Operation Redline targets criminals using the Luas Red Line and supports the Veolia Staff working on the Red Line. This Operation is designed to combat public order, drunkenness, loitering and thefts from persons on the Luas trams and at Luas stops. Operation 'Red Line' is carried out by uniformed Gardaí and plainclothes members on surveillance duty.

I am in regular contact with the Garda Commissioner with a view to ensuring that our streets are safe for all of our citizens and for the conduct of legitimate business and economic activity. In this regard I am assured that there is a strong community policing team assigned to the area concerned, headed up by an Inspector and this strategy is concerned with a robust reassurance policing policy involving a high visibility policing presence at key locations and at pertinent times with a significant emphasis on both the day time and night time economy. The basis of the policy is to engage with key stakeholders and maintain a visible Garda presence and to vigorously target individuals or groups who interfere with the public's capacity to enjoy the area. Local Garda Management were part of the Multi-Stakeholder Strategic Response Group who issued the report 'A Better City for all', and are presently part of the implementation group which is tasked with implementing the recommendations contained in the report.