Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Questions (528)

Eoghan Murphy

Question:

528. Deputy Eoghan Murphy asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his view on the concentration of methadone clinics in the city centre; his views on whether the Garda has sufficient resources to deal with increasing social order issues in the vicinity of these clinics; the number of gardaí assigned to the Temple Bar area; and his plans to increase their resources. [5313/14]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the deployment of Garda resources. In this regard I am advised that Garda management keep the distribution of resources under continuing review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the best possible use is made of the considerable overall resources which are available to An Garda Síochána.

Policing in Dublin city centre is focused on targeting anti-social behaviour and public order offences, and measures are in place to address difficulties experienced by local residents and businesses including the designation of certain areas as hotspots for such criminality and with additional high-visibility patrols being directed by local Garda management.

The Dublin City Centre Policing Plan has been operational since June 2013 and includes dedicated high visibility patrols in key commercial and public thoroughfares at times dictated by crime trends, demand led studies and footfall in the areas in question. As part of this Plan, each Friday and Saturday a dedicated Public Order Van is deployed from 11am to 4am. In addition to routine plain clothes patrols, dedicated plain clothes foot patrols are assigned to the Temple Bar area and adjoining streets each Friday and Saturday night under Operation Aughrim. Ongoing consultation is maintained with the Temple Bar Traders association and Dublin Business Improvement District (BID).

More generally, local Garda management engage on an ongoing basis with a wide range of local businesses, community groups and other organisations with a view to addressing the many issues associated with policing a busy city centre with a vibrant night time economy. In particular, the Garda authorities participated in the multi-stakeholder Strategic Response Group (SRG) which published the report ‘A Better City for all’ in June 2012. This Group set out a partnership approach to manage the provision of drug related services, and to address public substance misuse and associated anti-social behaviour in Dublin’s city centre, including through the use of 'Good Neighbour' policies on the part of the clinics in question. The Deputy will appreciate, of course that the development of drug treatment services in the Dublin area would primarily be a matter for my colleague, Alex White TD, Minister for State at the Department of Health, and for the Health Service Executive.