Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Questions (64)

Louise O'Reilly

Question:

64. Deputy Louise O'Reilly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if his attention has been drawn to the issue of organised and pre-arranged fights in Fingal and other areas across north County Dublin; if he has considered increasing the number of gardaí in the area to deal with the matter; if additional community policing will take place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4360/19]

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Written answers (Question to Justice)

As the Deputy will be aware, the manner in which Garda resources are deployed is solely a matter for the Garda Commissioner and his management team and I, as Minister, have no direct role in this regard. However, I am assured that Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources.

I am advised by the Garda authorities that, in most instances, notification of these pre-arranged fights come through concerned parents or school staff and a proactive approach is taken throughout the Dublin Metropolitan Region, North Division.  Social media is monitored and appropriate policing plans are put in place and where pre-arranged fights are confirmed policing plans may include the deployment of the Public Order Unit.

Information regarding pre-arranged fights is circulated throughout the Division for the attention of all members, and in instances where young people are identified commenting on social media regarding pre-arranged fights, they are visited by local Community Gardaí and the Juvenile Liaison Officer.

Furthermore, close liaison is maintained with Irish Rail to monitor the movements of large congregations of individuals using the rail network.  Use of the trains and light rail systems has been a common feature in respect of pre-arranged fights in the DMR North Division. 

I am informed that the proactive approach outlined by An Garda Síochána has seen notable successes in combatting and preventing this type of activity.

Finally, I would encourage anyone with information pertaining to any organised fight, such as those referred to in the Deputy's question, to contact their local Garda Station or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800666111.