Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Dublin Vandalism.

29.

asked the Minister for Justice whether he is aware of the growing incidence of vandalism, and threatening and defiant behaviour of teenage gangs in the Dublin area; and whether he proposes taking sterner action towards remedying this serious problem.

As in the case of virtually all types of crime in Dublin, the figures for malicious damage have shown an increase in recent years and it is true to say that in some areas of the city the position is worse than in others. The Garda Síochána say that they are not aware of any organised gangs engaged in acts of malicious damage. In the majority of the cases known to the Garda, the damage is done by young people travelling in groups to dances, etc. The less serious incidents of malicious damage are particularly difficult to detect except where members of the public are willing to come forward with information.

Special late-night Garda patrols are provided in particular areas and the Garda authorities say that these patrols together with the ordinary beat patrols and mobile patrols operating from the local Garda stations should prove effective.

I can assure the Minister that in the area which I represent——

Has the Deputy a question?

——people have made these reports and they are not concerned entirely with malicious damage. They are concerned also with the threatening and menacing behaviour of skinheads in the city.

Is that a question?

It is and it is a serious question. Apropos what the Minister has said——

We cannot have a debate on this question.

——is the Minister aware that in a situation in which the hours of duty have been reduced from 48 to 42 there has been an increase——

We cannot have a debate on this.

We cannot have a debate on Northern Ireland, but we can have a speech on this question.

Question No. 30.

It would be more relevant to the Twenty-Six Counties than the speeches made by Deputy Conor Cruise-O'Brien. This is very relevant to my area and I put it to the Minister to make more gardaí available.

Is the Minister aware that on 23rd June he replied to a question by me on vandalism and stated that no such offence as vandalism existed and that malicious damage was on the decrease in the area I mentioned?

My recollection is that I assumed the Deputy was referring to malicious damage, which would be the offence closest in meaning to vandalism. I have no recollection whatever of saying malicious damage was on the decrease. The information I have available would unfortunately seem to indicate the opposite.

Is the Minister aware that he stated in his reply that there was no increase in malicious damage in the area mentioned?

It is very difficult when questions answered a fortnight ago are brought up without notice. I have not got the question here.

The Minister gave one reply on 23rd June and now he is giving another reply here today. That is inconsistent.

The question related to some small area for which figures were available.