I call on Deputy Gregory to resume the debate. He has four minutes.
Private Members' Business. - Crime Rate: Motion (Resumed).
In the limited time available to me I wish to highlight the major drug problem in my constituency. So widespread has it become that it can now seriously be said that it is the fastest growing labour intensive indigenous industry, with increasing numbers of young unemployed people who have no future being drawn into the net and manipulated by the larger drug dealers. Heroin and other drugs are being sold openly on city streets in my constituency. The main drug is heroin and the problem is now worse than in the early eighties. It is far more widespread and more people are involved. The tragedy is that the number of new addicts, young people, attending the local counselling and drug treatment centre set up recently on the north side of the city is rising. That centre has been swamped by new applicants and a waiting list has been set up for those seeking help. The staff simply cannot cope with the numbers seeking their help.
Another new manifestation of the problem to which I would like to refer briefly is the nightmarish and appalling attacks carried out by those who use blood-filled syringes. This is happening with increasing regularity and has been reported in the evening newspapers.
Another new and sinister manifestation of the spiralling drug problem in my constituency is the takeover of large properties and derelict houses by unscrupulous individuals, some of whom have criminal connections, who renovate them and move in criminal and drug elements. These new elements are intimidating and demoralising the local community. The Garda are aware of this problem. Indeed, I am due to meet, along with a delegation of residents, the local superintendent to address this frightening problem.
I have drawn attention to the fact that guns are increasingly being used in my constituency. Many of these attacks, including one murder by gunmen in recent months, are drug related. I understand that the Minister for Justice recently visited the Seán McDermott Street area to assess the extent of the problem. She is the only Minister for Justice that I am aware of in recent times to show an interest, which is welcome.
It should be said that the local Garda are doing their best. They have been very dedicated during the years. However, the local drug unit in Store Street Garda station has been placed at a major disadvantage; it has been deprived of resources and manpower for years. It has only one car available to it for operations and has virtually no surveillance equipment at its disposal. I understand that following the Minister's visit a new task force has been set up. This comprises ten men drawn from Store Street, Fitzgibbon Street and the Bridewell Garda stations. I hope that they will have more than one car available to them. While I welcome this new initiative, it is not enough; it is too little too late. I hope this new unit will receive the technological back-up it requires to deal with the problem.
I wish to comment briefly on the serious problems that are being encountered in the courts. Even when people are brought to trial the Judiciary are out of touch with this problem, which is alien to them. Recently, to the frustration of the gardaí involved, a heroin dealer was released, having been convicted, without serving a prison term. It seems that some judges have no idea of the destructive effects heroin can have on entire communities and of the serious threat the heroin problem poses to society.
With the permission of the House, I wish to share my time with Deputies Haughey and E. Ryan.
Is that agreed? Agreed.
It is fair to say that each Member of this House has some experience of this problem in that family members, relatives and neighbours have been the victims of crime. It is also fair to say that each Member is sincere in expressing concern at the level of crime in the community. I am chairperson of the Select Committee on Security and Legislation, which, prior to the recess and during the past few weeks, spent over 21 hours debating the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Bill, 1993. It was evident that all members of the committee were sincere and open in addressing the problem. Tributes were paid to the Minister for Justice, Deputy Geoghegan-Quinn, particularly at the conclusion of the debate, for trying to accommodate the views and opinions expressed on all sides, for accepting amendments and for indicating that she would look at the Bill again before Report and Final Stages are taken in the House.
There is no doubt that the level of crime in the community is the source of concern. There is a lack of respect for the elderly in our community today. They are being terrorised and are frightened in their homes. Indeed, they are afraid to go to the local shop because gangs of youths congregate on street corners. It is equally true to say that there is a lack of respect for property and this is evident throughout the community.
I make these points at the outset because it is important that people are clear that there are no winners in this debate. It is important that we approach it in a constructive and positive manner. I commend Deputy Mitchell for making a personal effort to highlight the problems caused by crime, particularly in our urban centres. I do not doubt his sincerity for one moment. But this motion, however well intentioned, is superfluous. As Deputy Mitchell knows full well, the Government and the Minister are not sitting still in the face of crime. On the contrary, we have a reforming Minister who in a short period of time has accomplished much. The Government is actively pursuing solutions to the problems which have been presented by crime. Generating further reports and more red tape, as Deputy Mitchell suggested, is not the answer. There is a need for concerted action and that is the path being followed by the Government.
I regret to say there is a fundamental flaw in Deputy Mitchell's motion. Throwing money at the problem is not necessarily the solution. That approach would be far too simplistic. A problem as complex as that of crime demands by its very nature a multifaceted approach. In this regard I refer Deputy Mitchell to the Programme for a Partnership Government——
I have a copy.
——which commits the Government to a radical set of measures to combat crime and allows for the resources to back it up. This includes tackling crime in its diverse forms, from vandalism to white collar crime. No branch of crime will be left unattended.
Crime is a particular problem in urban areas. The Programme for Government allows for a broad-based approach to be adopted to crime prevention in urban areas. A five year corporate strategy for the Garda will be drawn up and implemented to enhance the capacity of the Garda to fight crime in present conditions. The Garda are at the coalface in the battle against crime and the Government is committed to lending them all the support possible in this demanding task.
Our prison system has a central role to play in the fight against crime and must maintain a careful balance between redress and rehabilitation. To this end the Government is currently engaged in a comprehensive review of prisons policy and strategy. A document will be published in the future and will, I am sure, act as a suitable framework for prison reform.
The recently launched National Development Plan will be central to the Government's approach. As Deputy Mitchell knows, it is the largest capital investment in the history of the State. Among the key aims of the plan is significant growth in employment and an attack on the social exclusion and marginalisation caused by long term unemployment and poverty. Of course, the vast majority of those who are unemployed are decent law-abiding citizens. Yet there is a wealth of evidence to indicate that unemployment, especially among the young, is a major contributing factor in crime growth. A reversal of the unemployment trend through the National Development Plan will make a major contribution towards the control of crime.
It is on this latter point that the differences between the Government's approach and that of Deputy Mitchell become clear. Deputy Mitchell's motion addresses the symptom, but that is not sufficient; the underlying causes must also be addressed. If we address only the symptom and ignore the underlying cause, crime will only continue to perpetuate itself. This Government is not prepared to let that happen. The causes must and will be tackled. That is the only long term viable solution to the problem of crime.
Deputy Mitchell's suggestions, while sincere, are somewhat short-sighted. The Minister is undertaking the co-ordinated approach necessary to combat crime backed up by the overall Government commitment to tackle the underlying social problems that can lead to crime. Another strand of the Government's crime policy is a commitment in the Programme for Government to implement the recommendations of the inter-departmental group on urban crime and disorder. The group has prepared a detailed report, some of which is already being implemented. This task involves a co-ordinated intervention by Government Departments and State agencies to promote employment and improved educational and environmental facilities and to provide the necessary level of social services tailored to meet the needs of each area. This is a most welcome step and one that reflects a personal viewpoint, that is, that combating crime and its root causes is not confined to a particular Department or agency. Rather is it a task that involves many arms of the State working co-operatively. This is the most effective way to combat crime.
The Government has initiated a comprehensive process of criminal law reform. I would refer Deputies to the Criminal Justice Act, 1993, which contains a series of important measures designed to place greater emphasis on the victims of crime and will also make a most positive contribution towards combating crime.
These pieces of legislation are but the beginning of this Government's ambitious programme of criminal law reform. For all the reasons outlined above, I believe Deputy Mitchell's motion, while well meant, is unnecessary. However, I look forward to hearing any other suggestions he may have to make in the busy legislative terms ahead. The committee, of which we are both members, plays a very important role because there are no easy solutions to the problems that exist. There is a commitment by the Government and by the Minister, already demonstrated, to tackling crime. There are huge problems but with the co-operation of everybody in this House we can make inroads into the serious problems that affect communities. They are looking to this House for support and the necessary legislation and reforms and I have no doubt that these will continue to be forthcoming from this present Minister and this Government. Deputy Mitchell's motion is well-intentioned but it is not necessary because what he is looking for is already taking place.
I would like to thank Deputy Mitchell for putting down this motion following the developments over the summer months. This discussion is timely. There is no doubt that Ireland, like many other western countries, has experienced a steady rise in the incidence of crime in recent years. This is an unfortunate fact of life in modern society. Most Irish people are shocked and horrified at the violence and viciousness of some of the crimes committed today. This is a major challenge to modern society and, indeed, to modern Ireland.
During the summer I received numerous complaints from my own constituents regarding gangs gathering at corners and greens. Ordinary residents point out that these gangs intimidate people going about their day-to-day activities. In this regard I welcome the provisions of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Bill. This, at last, gives appropriate powers to the Garda to deal with these situations. I suggest that those who are now criticising the provisions of the Bill are simply not aware of the problems in urban communities where these gangs are literally terrorising old people, are being generally intimidating and show lack of respect for property, people, society in general and, indeed, the Garda. I suggest that these powers are much needed. I have every confidence that the Garda will use the powers wisely. Those who are criticising the provisions of the Bill are stating that the Garda are not to be trusted. That is not the case. There is tremendous goodwill towards the Garda and there are very few cases of abuse of powers. I believe the Garda will use the powers in this Bill wisely. At the end of the day there is a serious problem and I believe that this Bill will address it.
Another issue which I want to raise relates to burglar alarms. It is now accepted that houses and premises with a burglar alarm fitted are far less likely to be burgled. I suggest that, as an incentive, the fitting of approved properly installed alarm systems should be tax deductible regardless of all other home improvement tax allowances. It would be a worthwhile step. It would benefit us all and help the Garda in their work. I will be taking that matter up with the Minister for Finance as a matter of urgency.
I would also like to raise the question of gardaí on the beat. There is no doubt that there is a demand from our communities for this. I welcome the Minister's initiatives in that regard. I know it is catered for in the Commissioner's plan. Civilianisation in the Garda and computerisation will free up the manpower to put gardaí on the beat. That is not an old-fashioned concept. Certainly it is the overwhelming desire of the general public to see gardaí on foot patrol in their communities because it would act as a deterrent to crime. I urge the Minister to continue to pursue that line and I have no doubt she will be congratulated on doing so.
I welcome the introduction of this new scheme whereby in most neighbourhoods there is a garda who deals with community activity. I cannot stress how important these gardaí are. They do invaluable work with residents' associations, neighbourhood watch schemes and so on. These gardaí can usually identify those who commit crime — there is only a small minority of people in any neighbourhood engaged in this activity — but unfortunately they experience difficulty in pressing charges. If the small group of people who commit crime were caught and charged it would go a long way towards stamping out crime.
On the question of alcohol-related offences, more needs to be done in relation to under-age drinking and particularly off licences. The law in general should be enforced to ensure that alcohol is not sold to those under age, as is happening in our communities at present. The gardaí should carefully monitor off licences, observe the activities taking place and, if necessary, press charges. That too would go a long way towards stamping out crime.
On the whole question of assisting the victim, moves have been made, including the passing of legislation, to deal with this matter. Facilities are to be provided in courthouses for victims. I have the highest praise for the work of the Irish Association for Victim Support. This is a new initiative and at long last we are getting the balance right in terms of the victim. I congratulate the Minister on her role in this area. Since the establishment of the Department of Equality and Law Reform, the Department of Justice has been enabled to deal with many of the real issues on the ground. The Criminal Justice Act has been brought into force and the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Bill and the Criminal Procedure Bill are under discussion. The Minister last night suggested she will be introducing confiscation of proceeds legislation as well as the Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill. These measures are very welcome. The measures that have been taken in the last few months and those proposed will bring about an improvement in the position.
I have no doubt that the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Bill, which I diligently circulated to residents' associations and neighbourhood watch schemes, is the most welcome Bill to come before the Dáil in recent times. All the other activities undertaken as part of the so-called liberal agenda made less impression than this Bill. People want to see real action on issues that concern them. In concluding, I call for a speedy resolution to the serious crime problem.
I welcome the opportunity to speak on this issue and I congratulate Deputy Mitchell on putting down this motion. Opinion polls show that crime is one of the main issues about which people are concerned. A number of years ago I carried out an opinion poll in my constituency and the main concern in regard to crime was lack of parental control. People believed that parents had no control over their children, they did not seem to care where they were or that they might be causing problems for others.
Most people will agree that in the south inner city there is a serious crime problem, much of which is drug related, although I do not believe it is as bad as that in the north inner city. I am glad the Minister recognises that all is not well. Her recent visit to the north inner city was an indication that she recognises that Dublin, particularly the inner city, is experiencing serious problems. We must find a solution to the problem of crime and I welcome the Minister's strategy as outlined in her speech.
There is great frustration among the general public about our prison system. There is a perception that there is a revolving door policy in prisons, that people who are arrested, brought to court and sentenced are back out on the streets almost immediately. I am sure the position is not as bad as media reports suggest but the gardaí are frustrated at how quickly people get out of prison. It is very frustrating for a garda who follows up a crime and goes through the court procedure to find that the person is released a couple of months after being sentenced. I am glad the Minister is considering the policing policy and I welcome the review in that regard.
I also welcome the Minister's points about social exclusion. In the inner city area of my constituency there is a high crime rate. People feel marginalised and believe there is no hope for them. There is high unemployment and social deprivation and people believe that the educational system has let them down. Sadly, the only way many of these people can make money is through crime. There is also a serious drug problem in the area. I welcome the measures in the plan announced on Monday to tackle the problem of social exclusion and the fact that extra resources will be made available to deal with that problem.
I welcome the points made by the Minister in regard to key policing priorities, including emphasis on the service ethic, underlining the key role for gardaí on the beat, computerisation and assessment of resources implications. These are all very important points.
Like everyone else, I should like to see more gardaí on the beat. The longer training period for gardaí will ensure that we have better trained personnel who will be more adept at solving crime. The training period for gardaí was too short some years ago and was not as good as it should have been. I welcome the increase in the number of clerical staff working in the Garda Síochána. While the number of gardaí is much the same today as it was in 1983, the number of clerical staff has increased by approximately 600-700 during that period. Because gardaí do not have to deal with this huge amount of paperwork — they complained bitterly about this some years ago — more gardaí are on the beat.
I have no doubt that the Minister is committed to solving the crime problem. She has shown that she is not afraid to take on and deal with difficult issues. Since she came into office she has put through much legislation which had previously been thrown around like a hot potato by many of her predecessors who were afraid to tackle it. The Minister has shown that when she makes up her mind to do something she will do it. She has stated in public and in private that she intends to tackle the problem of crime about which so many people are concerned.
I welcome the Minister's statement that the balance will be tilted towards the victims of crime. The perception at present is that criminals are not properly punished for their crimes while victims receive very little help in recovering from violent crimes in particular. Under the Criminal Evidence Act appeals can be made against lenient sentences and victims can claim for compensation. The regulations recently signed by the Minister will allow witnesses to give evidence through a live television link. Well known criminals in my constituency — the Minister knows who they are — have intimidated people in the worst kind of way. In some cases people have had to move out of their homes as a result of intimidation by organised criminals. I am glad that the victims of such intimidation will now be able to give evidence by way of a live television link or audio visual system. It is only when one meets people who have had to move out of their home because of intimidation that one realises the seriousness of the problem.
I was delighted to hear the Minister say that she will be introducing a Bill dealing with the confiscation of the proceeds of crime, a Criminal Justice (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill and a Criminal Procedure Bill, all of which will help solve the problem of crime.
I congratulate Deputy Mitchell on putting down this motion. Crime is a major problem in Dublin city, as no doubt it is in many urban areas. As I said, the Minister has spoken both publicly and privately about the ways in which she proposes to deal with this problem. She is not afraid to introduce legislation which may be regarded as awkward by some people. She is committed to her job and I have no doubt that she will tackle the crime problem in Dublin in a strategic way during the next few years. It is very important that we do not over react to this problem, thus giving rise to other problems in a few years.
Deputy Haughey said he had nothing but the highest of praise for the Irish Association for Victim Support. While I agree with his praise in the sense that he meant it, unfortunately I think that is all the Government has for that association. If one looks at the experience of the victims of crime one will see that they are being treated in an appalling manner. I know one man who was badly assaulted, who had hospital expenses of £10,000 and who applied to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Tribunal for compensation. After a very long delay his case was heard and the tribunal decided it would award him £10,000 in compensation. I should say that this man has very limited means. He got a letter telling him that he would get £10,000 but that there were no funds to pay him at present and that he could expect to wait, I think, 30 months before he received the money.
The Government talks about fiscal rectitude and responsibility, but it is borrowing the compensation of the victims of crime and applying it to current expenditure; it acknowledges that it owes these people the money but it borrows it for two and a half years. We should not forget that this is money which has already been laid out. We are not talking about personal injury damages for pain and suffering; we are talking about outlay. The Minister should make provision to pay these people in the next departmental Estimates. It is nonsense to say that the Government is dealing fairly with the victims when it transpires that it is borrowing their out of pocket expenses for two and a half years——
That includes the legal costs.
The Deputy will be sorry to hear that there are no legal expenses involved. I am referring to a case involving a man who had to pay £10,000 in hospital costs and who suffered a loss of earnings. Some people may think he had a very menial job in the public service. It is a scandal that a person in his circumstances should be treated in this way. However, that is the reality for the victims of crime.
I take very seriously Deputy Ryan's suggestion that we cannot approach crime in a tabloid manner. All our proposals have to be fairly measured and thought out. Much nonsense is spoken about restricting the right to bail. If this was to have any serious impact on crime it would mean putting more people who have not been convicted into our already overcrowded prisons and releasing more prematurely more prisoners who have been convicted. If that is justice I do not know what the word "justice" means. We cannot afford at present to introduce a scheme in our society which results in more people being kept on remand pending trial and more people serving less of the prison sentences imposed on them. The answer to this problem is to make bailsmen liable to forfeit their bail money when people on bail abuse that bail.
Deputy Ryan queried whether the media perception of a revolving door prison system was exaggerated. This perception is not exaggerated. Bearing in mind the number of sentences imposed, we have an inadequate number of prison places. The public demand is for stiffer and more sentences, but this demand is not capable of being met within the present system. The Government claims to have this issue under review. We have to realise that it is normally young men who commit crimes. Having regard to demographic and criminological trends, there is no reason to think that the situation will improve in the near future. The Minister would be well advised to think of building another prison now. Even though it may seem surplus to requirements, one of our inadequate jails could be closed in the long term if there was a decrease in the level of crime.
The Minister and the Fianna Fáil Deputies in particular have spoken about the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Bill and the Criminal Procedure Bill. I have expressed my views on those measures on other occasions and I do not intend to repeat them now. However, both of those Bills are severely flawed and many changes must be carried out before they are introduced. Otherwise, they will simply add to the problems of our legal system and our prison system rather than procure a solution.
Mention has been made in the past number of days, particularly by Deputy Mitchell, the proposer of this motion, of parental responsibility for offences committed by young people. Most people do not seem to be aware that under the Children Act, 1908, parents are liable to be fined where it transpires that the crime was committed due to their default or neglect. I heard Deputy Mitchell on the radio today suggesting that somehow parents could be subjected to curfew if their children misbehaved. The ingenuity of this proposal exceeded its practicality. I cannot imagine how anybody could seriously enforce such a curfew. Will parents be arrested because they have nipped down to the pub when an order has been made confining them to their homes after hours?
I will inform the Deputy's imagination when I am replying to the debate.
Will parents be brought before the courts because they have to live in close quarters with young thugs?
The Deputy obviously does not know how the probation system works at present. I will explain it to the Deputy.
The Deputy without interruption.
The probation system does not involve confining parents to their homes and spying on them and reporting to other people. I am simply saying to the Deputy that if he is concerned about crime he should produce serious, well considered proposals rather than——
The Deputy was not here for the debate.
I heard Deputy Mitchell on the radio this morning and I know precisely what he said.
If the Deputy has nothing to say he should sit down.
The Deputy amused the nation by telling them that he had not even determined how his scheme could be put in place.
This has been a very constructive debate. The Progressive Democrats are not concerned about crime. The Deputy should sit down.
The Deputy in possession must be allowed to proceed without interruption.
I was merely suggesting in a friendly way to the Deputy that if he is seriously concerned about crime he should come up with well thought out proposals which will work.
Deputy Mitchell has produced ten points.
The Deputy did not hear the debate last night. How can he reply to the debate when he has not heard the ten points which I put forward? The Deputy is spending too much time earning money in the Law Library. He should be here listening to the debate.
We will forget about Deputy Mitchell's absences when he was Lord Mayor.
One would need to have a sense of humour in this House for what is beginning to sound like the "Roland Rat Hour" on television. If we are serious about crime we must produce reasonably well thought out proposals. There is no point producing tabloid proposals or posturing as being concerned about the crime wave which is taking place if we are not willing to put——
There is no posturing. Nobody from the Progressive Democrats was present for this whole debate.
If Deputy Mitchell would be a little less defensive he would see that I am not accusing him of doing this. The Government must produce serious proposals. There is no point in the Government's posturing as concerned on the issue. They must produce the means whereby we will deal with problems such as the crisis in the prison population.
I welcome Deputy Mitchell's initiative in putting this measure before the House. I welcome his ingenuity and his imagination in producing his ten point plan but I suggest that in all of these matters this House should look to this Government, which claims that it will be adventurous and effective in dealing with crime, to deal with the problems which we can identify. The first thing the Minister should do is address the problem of the victims who are at present left without compensation for 30 months. She has the means to do this. Second, she must examine the bail issue in terms which do not involve putting more people into prison prematurely and letting more people out. Third, if the prison crisis requires the building of a new prison, she should face up to that quickly and put it in place because that problem will not go away. Fourth, in relation to many criminal procedures — perhaps Deputy Mitchell will agree with me on this — much time wasting takes place in the courts and many procedures are deliberately abused by people who are trying to avoid justice.
I will give the Minister an example which she might consider at some stage in the criminal procedure legislation. That is the problem of depositions. At the moment any person can insist that all the evidence that will be put against him in a case is recited openly in a District Court and in large cases which might involve 50 to 80 witnesses the accused person has of right the entitlement to insist that every one of those witnesses is produced before the District Court and run through the hoops before him, though he has a limited right of cross examination under recent case law. One might think that is Victorian in concept, which it is, but it is abused by the big drug barons and crime bosses whom Deputy Ryan mentioned. They abuse that system to make sure that they cannot be returned for trial for three and six months on occasion. I would ask the Minister to address that problem as a matter of urgency.
Finally, having provoked Deputy Mitchell to great passion, I want to reiterate my best wishes to him and my warm feeling of congratulation for having raised the issue of crime in this House.
I will thank the Deputy in due course.
In all these matters we must keep a balance between important civil liberties for the ordinary citizen and protecting people from crime. In the final analysis we cannot afford to put in place laws which actually worsen the problem. It is that which concerns me most about the Criminal Procedure Bill and the anti-boisterous provisions in the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Bill. If we create more and more occasions on which criminality will be detected and prosecuted and where young people will come into conflict with the police, there is then a danger of creating a worse rather than a better climate as time goes by. I yield to Deputy Mitchell now to allow him to reply to me.
I wish to share the remaining time with Deputy Frances Fitzgerald.
Is that agreed? Agreed.
I join in Deputy McDowell's gracious compliments to Deputy Mitchell on putting down this motion. We all believe that crime is a growing problem in Dublin, in Galway and every part of the country. For the Minister to amend Deputy Mitchell's motion to say that we should praise the efforts of the Government and the Minister in this matter is to treat the problem too lightly. It is an effort to sweep the problem under the carpet. We should all realise that we have a problem and work collectively to endeavour to solve it. Obviously the Government amendment to the motion will be carried in the vote to be held later this evening. But if this debate has highlighted the fact that we have a growing problem, if the Minister accepts that fact, then this debate will have been worthwhile.
I have two to three points to add to the debate thus far. It is very demoralising for the Garda authorities that known criminals can be out on the streets again, sometimes within days of having received a prison sentence. There is a cure for this. I say to the Minister: do not fill up our prisons with non-criminal offenders. For example, it should not be necessary to imprison somebody for the non-payment of a fine; there must be a better way of coping with such offenders. I am sure the Minister could ascertain that better way within the resources available to her.
Another startling statistic in this matter is that 31 per cent of places in our detention centres and prisons are occupied by juveniles, costing this State a staggering £26 million annually. I contend we could get much greater value for money. For example, were the Government to channel some of that money into the provision of amenities for young people in our towns and cities it would be much more beneficial generally. In this regard enormous work is being done even in my city of Galway where voluntary groups and individuals are making a great effort. I might give the House one example to illustrate this point. The Minister and I are aware of the involvement of Chick Gillen who coaches approximately 60 young people from the travelling and settled communities in boxing skills two or three nights a week in Galway. Through his own initiative he refurbished an old hall in Bohermore, yet for his efforts in the course of the year he received the princely sum of £1,000 from national lottery funds. I contend that if more of the £26 million to which I referred was spent on that type of work there would be less need for our young people to fill 31 per cent of places in detention centres. I say to the Minister that resources should be put into the provision of amenities for our youth, such as sporting facilities, football pitches and so on, which would pay enormous dividends in the long term.
Contrary to what Deputy Michael McDowell said — I support Deputy Gay Mitchell in his motion — I do believe that parents have a grave responsibility in the matter of knowing what their children are doing, knowing where they are, knowing who they are with at all times. I contend that greater acceptance by parents of responsibility for their children and their activities would greatly reduce the crime rate and the genuine growing fears held within our communities that law and order is breaking down.
Lest anybody might think this problem is confined to towns and cities only, I should say it is not; it is a problem now being experienced in rural areas also. I will give an example of something I came across in the course of the last general election campaign. I was canvassing in a rural area when I came across an old woman, the door of whose house had been padlocked on the outside by a neighbour who fulfilled that task for her each evening.
It may be a laughing matter for Deputies McDowell and Davern but it was not a laughing matter for the woman concerned.
Deputy McCormack, without interruption please.
That door was padlocked at the woman's request because of her fear of being broken into at night, she being apprehensive that a bolt on the door would not be sufficient to keep people out. I should remind the House that that fear exists as much in rural areas as it does in our towns and cities.
I would appeal to the Minister and the Government not to pretend that this problem does not exist — as the Government amendment to Deputy Gay Mitchell's motion would appear to suggest — but rather let us all sit down and work together to ascertain whether collectively we can solve this very serious problem in our community.
I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this debate and to support the ten point plan put forward by my colleague, Deputy Gay Mitchell. I would urge the Minister to consider it very carefully. I agree with the points Deputy Mitchell has raised. It is essential that they be taken on board if we are to tackle the crime problem obtaining in this country.
This issue is of serious concern to all sections of our community. Within my constituency of Dublin South-East the overall issue of crime is raised continuously with me, by traders in the area, by the elderly who are frightened within their own homes, by women, indeed by all citizens. The Minister knows this very well.
Within the past week, while speaking to some business people in Dublin South-East, two doors away from where I met the owner of a shop the bank had been robbed on the previous Friday when two men entered with a shotgun and a handgun. The house across the road from that shop has been burgled. Despite there being an alarm system the burglars had entered by the back door and left by the front door taking goods with them. The owner of the shop to whom I was talking had himself been assaulted, knocked to the ground by an intruder in his shop. This had happened on more than one occasion. Yesterday within the constituency ten men were arrested following a £10,000 raid on a building society and were released from Garda custody after being apprehended by the new quick response Garda Unit who had chased them and arrested them in a nearby flats complex.
My constituents today have raised with me the anger they feel in that these people are now back on the streets. A survey, the results of which are still being processed by Fine Gael in Dublin South East, has highlighted the range of ways in which people are affected by crime in the constituency. People feel vulnerable in their properties, in their homes, in their cars. I was struck very much by this in the course of the general election campaign last year.
I want to focus on a number of areas not discussed so far in the course of this debate this evening or last evening. I want to speak about juvenile delinquency particularly. However, before doing so I should like to welcome the Minister's review of the prison system, essential at this point. It is extraordinary — I think the Minister did say last evening — that this had been the first review undertaken by a Minister for Justice of the prison system. Therefore, it will clearly be seen that it is long overdue.
I want to point out that in one vital area — how we deal with children who break the law here — in the nineties we have the same legislation we had almost one hundred years ago. It is outrageous and makes nonsense of our claim to cherish all of our children equally. Indeed it underlines the fact that we have put on the back burner the overall issue of children in trouble. We have postponed it, ignored it, glossed over it; we have failed the children involved. The point that must be made is that we have failed the sectors of society affected by those children and, as I have already said, they are many.
Our response to the overall problem of juvenile crime is totally inadequate and unco-ordinated. We need to increase the age of criminal responsibility, we need further policy development within the Department of Justice and, above all, a coherent approach, particularly to the problem of truancy not mentioned in the course of the debate so far. Criminals do not begin suddenly at age 25; to do not suddenly enter into a career of crime at that age. We need to look at their origins and ascertain how we can intervene in the system that takes them on this road to delinquency. There is no doubt that truancy is the high road to delinquency. The growing number of teenagers who contemptuously mock the law is frightening. It is also known that a minority only of young offenders go on to make crime their career. Cautions and non-custodial punishments could deter most of them from going professional. It is not only impractical to threaten them indiscriminately with instant imprisonment, it is also counter-productive. We know that most teenage offenders need to be steered away from their self-destructive peers rather than locked up and labelled as crime college graduates.
I am not for a moment suggesting that we do not need a certain number of places of detention within which the programmes are appropriate, where persistent young offenders know that they will be dealt with seriously. However, I must make the point that we realy need to focus on prevention in this area. These young people place incredible demands on our schools system; there is no doubt about that. Equally, the schools system is the radar that can identify these young people, a very accurate radar, as we have seen increasingly from studies conducted in the United States, For example, the high scope programme there has identified young people most at risk of delinquent behaviour and has identified them very early on. In the United States they have shown, by introducing appropriate early programmes of identifying high risk children, that one can intervene in their lives, when there will be less delinquent behaviour at age 19.
I hope very much that the education convention this week and next week will not just discuss the management within our schools but will seriously examine the programmes and strategies we need within the education system to hold on to our most disadvantaged and at risk young people. I am not missing the point that we need places of detention for the persistent offenders but equally we need to track the other young people at risk. There is a conspiracy of silence about dealing with juvenile crime at Government level and it has to be tackled.
I agree with Deputy Mitchell about parental responsibility. He went through the ten points in great detail last night and the specific recommendations in relation to parental responsibility in particular cases. Clearly we have to highlight further the need for supervision of very young children. Parents must know where their children are, teach them right and wrong and discuss the consequences of their risk taking behaviour. It is in the nature of young people, particularly teenagers, to take risks. We must have an open approach to this and parents must be helped and encouraged to discuss the consequences with their young people. The criminal system and the courts must spell out very clearly their response. There is no doubt that many of our young people are not clear on the judicial consequences of their risk-taking behaviour and have lost respect for the law. There is a job to be done in spelling out clearly to young people the judicial consequences.
One cannot avoid speaking about unemployment and its consequences in society and the powerlessness which many families feel. As Deputy Mitchell stressed, many of the parents of these young people feel powerless because of unemployment and the housing situation.
I should like to mention violent videos. Recently, a statistic showed that 25 per cent of young people who committed very serious crime — murder — had been watching violent videos the week before. This is a critical issue and one we have to address in this House again. The whole question of the action which the State can take to prevent the spread of some of these violent, degrading and dangerous videos must be addressed.
I should like to mention a related area where Government policy is seriously lacking and must be co-ordinated and further developed. Recently I asked a parliamentary question on homelessness in Dublin. I was appalled to learn that in a very short period between January and June 1993 we had 39 children in bed and breakfast accommodation. This is not the way to deal with these young people.
Victim support, which Deputy McDowell also mentioned, is obviously receiving more attention and the whole victim movement must be further highlighted. Very often crime victims are the forgotten persons of the criminal justice system, valued only for their capacity to report crimes and to appear in court as witnesses.
There are many forgotten victims of significant crime such as burglary, robbery and sexual assault. I have seen many young people working in a child and family centre who have been present when burglaries were taking place and who have been very traumatised by it. We need to ask which counselling techniques are most effective for victims. How do victims cope effectively in the aftermath of crime? Are victim compensation programmes assisting the victims with the greatest needs quickly enough? Do victims want the opportunity to submit victim impact statements? Do the elderly and child victims have special needs that are not being addressed? The Minister has gone some way towards addressing some of these questions but we have a long way to go before our thinking is victim centred.
I wish to share my time with Deputy Martin. I thank the Minister for the innovations she has introduced under the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Bill, some of which Deputy McDowell decried. For those who live in cities and towns and see the violence which takes place after discos — racketeering, breaking of windows etc. — it is a disturbing scene. It has to be corrected somewhere along the line. I agree with Deputy Gay Mitchell that the main responsibility lies not with Dáil Éireann or the Minister for Justice but with the parents. If responsibility does not start at home there is no point in legislating for it. The basis has to be built up in the home and no legislation can substitute for it. I am not sure that I agree with the curfew on parents as suggested by Deputy Mitchell. Every second pub and every third disco throughout the country would have to be closed. The drink driving laws which will take effect from October will probably resolve the greater part of the problem. The problem starts in the home. The parents should be in court with the juvenile who has committed the crime so that they are aware of what is happening. They can report to the court in a couple of months' time and say: "We have no control, we have no responsibility, we have no chance any more". That is the essential area that must be taken care of.
There are two areas that could relieve the court system at present. First, civil cases should not be heard in the criminal courts. The suffering of the victim is far greater than is indicated by court orders. Some justices are imposing ridiculous fines. Recently, a lady in my constituency was fined £300 for not having a television licence. She has an income of £63 per week and has a drink problem and was fined £300. In the end it did not matter because the television company had taken back the television set; she had not even paid for it. Where is the point in fining somebody in her circumstances or making an order to put her in jail? Sometimes a man is put off the road for being over the limit — I emphasise that — rather than for drunken driving. Automatically he loses his job, his insurance premium is increased the next time he seeks to have it renewed but he has no ability to pay the fine because he has lost his job. The disqualification for 12 months or — as the new law will require — two years is severe enough but if he is fined £300 it must come out of his social welfare payments in that period. Many of the non-criminal offences or social offences could be dealt with through community work. The irregularities and inconsistencies in fines by different District Courts are absolutely ridiculous and have given a bad reputation to the law and the courts. A person who pays tax every week, pays their PRSI, attends work may be treated much more severely than somebody who is in court for a serious criminal offence.
Recently somebody who was 13 years unemployed was given a two-month sentence for possession of £4,000 worth of drugs hidden under dirty napkins in their premises, while in the same court a man who was charged with being over the limit by 26 milligrams was put off the road for 12 months and fined £400. There is no comparison between the two sentences and people are outraged by that, particularly the families who are put in danger by those selling drugs. More severe penalties should be imposed on those who assault the gardaí. This is necessary to restore respect for the Garda Síochána and the courts. Too many of the Garda Síochána are being severely beaten by criminals and that is not recognised in the penalty imposed by the court. If the garda retaliated, even in his own defence, he might be charged.
For that reason justice is not seen to be done. Deputy McDowell raised the question of victim support. I am totally in favour of victim support but I am not sure how criminal compensation works. However, if it is funded only by the taxpayers, it is an offence that the taxpayer, who is usually the victim, has to pay for the crime again.
Our courts are clogged up with prosecutions for non-criminal offences such as illegal parking, drunk driving and so on, offences that should be dealt with under a system of social courts. The criminal courts should be used for those who need to be removed from society.
I am deeply worried that people in rural Ireland who feel they need to defend themselves in their homes will fall victim of the criminal justice system. People are afraid and they feel they need to protect themselves and their families. More than ever people are prepared to use weapons when attacked in their own homes because they are genuinely afraid of being beaten up. Two old people who live near me were recently tied up for six hours by criminals from Tallaght, County Dublin. Such people would not find the house if they did not know the area but it is well known that the house was pinpointed by a certain nomadic group in the area. The occupants were beaten and tied up for six hours for the sake of £400. The shock to those people resulted in them going senile. I am sure that when this case goes to court somebody will plead on behalf of the perpetrators on the basis of their social deprivation. People will take the law into their own hands to defend their homes. I promise that will happen more often unless we make crime less attractive in the future.
I welcome the opportunity that this Bill affords me to make an important point about alcohol and drug abuse and the need for intervention at an early age to prevent such abuse. Generally when people talk about drug abuse they think in terms of the policing and apprehending of the drug dealers. However, if we are to have long-term results we need a preventive education programme at all primary and second level schools. It disturbs me that there is no adequate provision proposed in the Green Paper for such a programme and there is no indication that there will be a major allocation of resources in the future.
The greatest problem facing young people today is substance abuse, both alcohol and drugs. Indeed, those in prison will confirm that many of the younger criminals have behavioural problems arising from substance abuse and addiction. It is critically important that we have programmes on the curriculum at primary and second level to give people the necessary self-esteem and confidence to combat the peer pressure they face. That would help to prevent them becoming involved in crime later.
An interdepartmental team should consider this issue because education is also very important in the prison system. A good deal of work can be done to educate people about drug and alcohol abuse and, indeed, that has commenced in a number of our prisons.
I wish to sound a note of caution on the question of parental responsibility. Members suggested that we should hold parents responsible for the conduct of their juveniles. Those Members must be removed from reality because in many respects the parents need help. That has been my experience in dealing with young people who have had problems with the police. Generally they have been marginalised from an early age. I sound that note of caution so that we do not do anything to exacerbate the situation.
I thank the Deputies who participated in the debate, especially those who did not speak without thinking.
Something Deputy Mitchell would never do.
It is certainly something I would not do if I was trying to build up a reputation in the Law Library. I would ensure I had knowledge of the subject before I spoke.
First, I will dispose of some of the points the Minister made. The Minister said the motion gave the impression that most people lived in a state of siege. In the motion I set out to relieve the siege but Deputy Haughey's suggestion that the purchase of burglar alarms should be tax deductible, such is the demand, makes my point. He knows that in many communities people are under siege. It is wrong, therefore, for the Minister to suggest that the message which the motion signals is misleading.
The Minister said she is engaged in a comprehensive review of prison policy. The Whitaker report, one of the best reports on prison reform ever produced, was published in 1985. What further review do we need? It is time to act on prison reform instead of turning out recidivists on to our streets.
The Minister went on to comment on the available statistical evidence. The available statistical data is erroneous and the Minister quoted it to support her case that things are hunky-dory. The Minister stated that the crime figures are down. Perhaps the incidence of crime is down where the Minister lives — I doubt very much if that is the case — but if the Minister read theIrish Independent of last weekend she would see that the crime statistics are up. Furthermore, a very substantial number, 22 per cent, do not bother to report what would be considered a serious crime. The Garda crime statistics only record reported crime. That is the problem. We should measure the problem and then from time to time measure our success or failure in dealing with the various aspects of crime.
The Minister stated that the present strength of the Garda is 11,373. There are not 11,373 gardaí as the Minister included in brackets the 513 student gardaí who are not gardaí. At one time they were, and they were paid properly but now they are paid a nominal amount and are in training. Whoever included that figure must not have realised that the Opposition at least know what a garda is. The Garda force is almost 500 below its authorised level.
We have one of the highest ratios of gardaper capita in Europe.
The Minister stated:
In line with previous policy 1,000 gardaí are being recruited in the period 1992-95.
Yesterday, before the debate commenced, I received a telephone call from the parent of a Garda applicant who was due to start his training on 15 November but has now been told that training will not commence until February 1994. Did the Minister think we would not check this out? I checked the matter with Garda headquarters and was told that the intake arranged for 15 November has been deferred until February. The impression was given by the Minister last night that recruitment was proceeding. How does that tie in with the so-called commitment in the Programme for Government? Members may well check their notes but that is the situation and I checked it out with Garda headquarters yesterday. That is far from telescoping recruitment over four years into three years. It is time we put all the facts before the House and stopped bringing in here half-baked scripts which do not give the true picture.
The Minister stated that she is confident the Europol drugs unit will prove extremely effective, but I am not. This country is awash with drugs, people are selling drugs openly on the streets. On 17 February 1993 the Minister stated in reply to a parliamentary question in this House that she was informed by the Garda authorities that there is no evidence to suggest any significant increase in the supply of heroin to this country. Who is advising the Minister? The Garda report published two weeks ago states that we have the highest increase in heroin on our streets since 1986, and that was the 1992 report. The Minister should get her facts correct and supply accurate information to Parliament. We may have to ask the Committee on Procedure and Privileges to examine this matter. A drugs enforcement agency is necessary and the Minister is quoted as saying that outside this House, but it is peculiar she has not put it on the record of the House.
The Minister stated that she will establish an independent judicial commission to examine and make recommendations in respect of the court services. That is unnecessary because judges do not have skills in that area; they are the wrong people for the job. If the Minister wishes to do something along those lines she should consider the recent report — a report which for once makes sense — published by the Incorporated Law Society and my good friends at the Bar Council. They must have received external advice in regard to that report, which sets out details on reforming the courts and outlines how such reform could be financed. We should not set up any more judicial commissions. Such commissions should deal with matters of law, not matters of administration, as the Judiciary are not equipped to carry out such work.
I thank Deputy Wallace for his words of congratulations, which were much appreciated, but I did not suggest throwing money at the problem. I identified fines, their effective collection, the need to get value for money by carrying out an audit of the law enforcement system through the Comptroller and Auditor General and the making of contributions to court reform costs by commercial companies using the courts for arbitration and sources for funding a reform of the courts system. Those who talk about more prisons are the people who want to throw money at the problem and produce more recidivists on our streets. I hope Deputy Wallace notes that point.
I would like to turn now to the contribution of my good friend and esteemed colleague, Deputy McDowell.
The Deputy might be charged for his opinion.
I was struck by the cordial note of the contributions from most Fianna Fáil Deputies, who had the decency to acknowledge the worth of the motion, and I appreciate that. However, not one Labour Party Member contributed to the debate, which is an appalling indictment of the second party in Government. No Member of that party saw fit to come in here and contribute to this important debate. What happened to Deputy Costello, the great spokesman for the prisoners? Have the Members of the Labour Party completely lost their conscience when they could not find time to come into the House to contribute to this important debate?
Members of the Progressive Democrat Party were not much better. Not only did they not attend the debate, but the learned advocate, Deputy McDowell, came in and contributed a short few words in which he said a lot of nonsense. I would have expected that somebody of Deputy McDowell's experience in the courts would have done some research for a debate such as this and made a worthwhile contribution. He made it clear that he did not even hear what I said last night.
I was present for the Deputy's opening speech last night.
He asked how we could ensure that a curfew system would work in regard to parents. I will tell the Deputy how it would work. At present the courts regularly impose curfews on juveniles. They inform the juvenile that they are imposing a curfew on them as part of their bail bond and that the juvenile will be required to be at home as stipulated by the probation and welfare officer. If the probation and welfare officer permits, the juvenile may go to a disco occasionally, but if the probation and welfare officer does not allow the juvenile to go out his or her decision stands.
A total of 31 per cent of people in prison or places of detention are juveniles, a figure of 695, at a cost to the State of £26 million a year. One in six of those juveniles is under 14 years of age. Is it too much to expect that when the courts order children to be at home and off the streets their parents might be there to look after them? Is it too much to expect that the courts in exceptional circumstances would have a right to tell parents that their place is not in the pub but at home taking care of their children? Why should the courts not have that right? Deputy McDowell talked about people's civil liberties being interfered with if this was allowed, but I believe it would be used only in exceptional circumstances, as is the case at present for juveniles. What about the civil liberties of old people who are incarcerated in their own homes?
What about the civil liberties of people in the inner city flat complexes whose lives are destroyed by the activities of one or two families? I have had enough pussyfooting in respect of those people. It is time we dealt with the reality. Deputy McDowell is unaware of the problems in such places because one would not learn much about them in places such as Gonzaga, the Kings Inns or in the fashionable areas of town where he hangs out.
Deputy McDowell will take the bus from now on.
The reality of life in downtown Dublin leaves us no alternative but to take into account parental responsibility. Parents should be told that if their child is a constant offender and a juvenile, they will be held accountable. There is no point in sending the parents to prison because if that happened there would be nobody to care for the child. There is no point imposing automatic fines because it is unlikely they could afford to pay them. Such parents should be made stay at home to supervise their children.
Deputy McDowell should give some consideration to the real needs of people and call for reform of the legal profession, whose members should take off their ridiculous wigs long enough to inform themselves of the real needs of people. They might then take more heed of what Deputy McDowell and his colleagues have to say.
The Deputy is being personal.
Last night the Minister for Justice told the House that the Fine Gael motion seeking the implementation of a comprehensive and co-ordinated plan of action to deal with the current crime, vandalism and law and order problem facing the country was unnecessary. This afternoon a statement was issued by the Government stating that they are preparing a five year plan to tackle the crime problem of this country. What happened between last night and today to make the Government issue such a statement? The officials of the Department of Justice do not appear to be aware that this statement was issued and, therefore, I will read it.
The statement issued by the Government Information Services stated that the Taoiseach told today's Fianna Fáil Parliamentary Party meeting that crime in the view of many members of the public, was even more important than unemployment. Is the Taoiseach scare-mongering? Did the position change between last night and today? We raised this motion and people reacted and said we were right. How does the Minister square this development with the announcements she made last night that people who express public concern about crime and causing despair? This is a serious contradiction which shows that the Department of Justice is badly led. The Minister did not prepare adequately for the debate last night and has not prepared adequately for the fight back against crime. She is relying on handlers and public relations when what is needed is a comprehensive plan.
There is an appalling lack of co-ordination when the Taoiseach says that he, the Minister for Justice and the Minister for Finance are together preparing a plan and last night the Minister talked of the great plan they had and that there was no need for a new plan. I have put forward a plan. It may have its imperfections, but it is the only plan that has been put before this House for some time. The crime problem is too serious to be dealt with by way of a piecemeal approach. I appeal to the Minister to publish a plan to which we can work, review and measure its success or otherwise. If the crime problem is not tackled soon, law and order will be a thing of the past. I hope the House will support the motion.
- Ahern, Dermot.
- Ahern, Michael.
- Ahern, Noel.
- Bhreathnach, Niamh.
- Bree, Declan.
- Briscoe, Ben.
- Costello, Joe.
- Coughlan, Mary.
- Davern, Noel.
- Dempsey, Noel.
- Doherty, Seán.
- Ellis, John.
- Ferris, Michael.
- Fitzgerald, Brian.
- Flood, Chris.
- Gallagher, Pat.
- Geoghegan-Quinn, Máire.
- Haughey, Seán.
- Higgins, Michael D.
- Hilliard, Colm M.
- Howlin, Brendan.
- Jacob, Joe.
- Kavanagh, Liam.
- Kemmy, Jim.
- Kenneally, Brendan.
- Kenny, Seán.
- Kirk, Séamus.
- Kitt, Michael P.
- Lawlor, Liam.
- Leonard, Jimmy.
- Martin, Micheál.
- McDaid, James.
- McDowell, Derek.
- Moffatt, Tom.
- Morley, P.J.
- Moynihan, Donal.
- Moynihan-Cronin, Breeda.
- Broughan, Tommy.
- Browne, John (Wexford).
- Burton, Joan.
- Byrne, Hugh.
- Callely, Ivor.
- Connolly, Ger.
- Mulvihill, John.
- Nolan, M.J.
- Ó Cuív, Éamon.
- O'Dea, Willie.
- O'Donoghue, John.
- O'Hanlon, Rory.
- O'Keeffe, Batt.
- O'Keeffe, Ned.
- O'Leary, John.
- O'Shea, Brian.
- O'Sullivan, Gerry.
- O'Sullivan, Toddy.
- Pattison, Séamus.
- Penrose, William.
- Power, Seán.
- Quinn, Ruairí.
- Reynolds, Albert.
- Ryan, Eoin.
- Ryan, John.
- Ryan, Seán.
- Shortall, Róisín.
- Smith, Brendan.
- Smith, Michael.
- Spring, Dick.
- Stagg, Emmet.
- Taylor, Mervyn.
- Treacy, Noel.
- Upton, Pat.
- Wallace, Dan.
- Walsh, Eamon.
- Walsh, Joe.
- Barrett, Seán.
- Barry, Peter.
- Boylan, Andrew.
- Bradford, Paul.
- Browne, John (Carlow-Kilkenny).
- Bruton, Richard.
- Carey, Donal.
- Clohessy, Peadar.
- Connaughton, Paul.
- Connor, John.
- Crawford, Seymour.
- Currie, Austin.
- Deasy, Austin.
- Deenihan, Jimmy.
- De Rossa, Proinsias.
- Doyle, Avril.
- Dukes, Alan M.
- Durkan, Bernard J.
- Finucane, Michael.
- Fitzgerald, Frances.
- Gilmore, Eamon.
- Gregory, Tony.
- Harte, Paddy.
- Higgins, Jim.
- Hogans, Philip.
- Kenny, Enda.
- Keogh, Helen.
- Lowry, Michael.
- McCormack, Pádraic.
- McDowell, Michael.
- McGahon, Brendan.
- McGinley, Dinny.
- McGrath, Paul.
- McManus, Liz.
- Mitchell, Gay.
- Molloy, Robert.
- Nealon, Ted.
- Noonan, Michael.
- (Limerick East).
- Quill, Máirín.
- Rabbitte, Pat.
- Shatter, Alan.
- Sheehan, P.J.
- Timmins, Godfrey.
- Yates, Ivan.