asked the Minister for Justice if he is aware of the increasing incidence of vandalism in the West Finglas area of Dublin; and whether he is prepared to increase the local Garda force with a view to controlling this vandalism.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Control of Vandalism.
I am aware that in the West Finglas area, as in other areas of Dublin, there is a certain amount of vandalism caused mainly by youngsters between 12 and 15 years of age. I believe this is best dealt with by action on the part of parents, teachers and local community leaders, which can be more effective in instilling a sense of civic responsibility in these young people than any Garda activity though of course the Garda have an important role to play.
In May last a special Garda patrol to augment the ordinary local patrols in the Finglas area was introduced by the garda authorities. This special patrol operates at the times and in the places in the area where there were complaints of vandalism. Since its introduction the number of complaints has been reduced.
Is the Minister satisfied that the problem is confined to teenagers because personally I do not think that is correct?
I am not saying that it is confined to them. What I am saying is that it is caused mainly by youngsters within that age group. Unfortunately, offenders of an older age commit these crimes of vandalism, but there is a difficulty in detecting such crimes because by their nature they are difficult to detect and equally difficult to prevent. The methods which the Garda have adopted by providing this special patrol in the areas where the vandalism occurs are having the effect of reducing it.
Would the Minister agree that there was a promise of an additional patrol car for that area? That promise was made in the House last year but I understand it has not yet been fulfilled.
I am not aware of that but I will look into it, see if such a promise was made and inquire as to why it was not fulfilled.
Does the Minister accept that the training period, 18 weeks, is entirely inadequate to fit a garda for duty particularly in the deprived areas of Dublin?
This is a distinctly separate question.
Two different matters have been referred to here.
This question refers to vandalism at Finglas and I wish to advise the Deputy that his question deals with a separate matter.
I should like to ask the Minister to indicate his attitude to the question I have asked.
The Deputy is seeking to circumvent the ruling of the Chair and I am calling the next Question.
I should like to ask the Minister whether he sees a very important role being played by the juvenile liaison officer service in regard to vandalism, what the present strength of the corps is in Dublin, if he has any plans to increase the number of such officers and if he would make a short statement about the situation?
I am aware of the important role these officers are playing in the whole area of juvenile delinquency and I would like to pay tribute to the work of these officers, not merely those in Dublin but throughout the country. Offhand I cannot say the exact number of liaison officers working in Dublin Metropolitan District. I have indicated my concern to the police authorities that this scheme be expanded and I am awaiting their recommendations as to how I can achieve this.