People in Dublin 15 have been reeling with shock following incident after incident of gang warfare, linked to the drugs trade, being played out on the streets in different parts of Dublin West. Children are afraid and their parents are afraid for them, even when they are walking to school. In one particular area parents and teachers are fearful because of two incidents where a gun was fired in front of a primary school and a week or two later, outside a secondary school. What, if anything, does the Government intend to do to address this?
I recently asked the Minister for Justice and Equality how many community gardaí are working in the area, which has a population of over 100,000.
There are 13 community gardaí, of whom one is a sergeant and 12 are gardaí. All of the different policing reports, with which the Minister will be familiar, suggest that community policing should be at the heart of policing in this country. In an area that is bigger than Limerick city or Waterford city, there are only 13 community gardaí - two hands plus three more fingers. Are we asked to believe this is adequate?
Some weeks ago the Minister committed to addressing this problem. The Taoiseach himself, who represents the area, pronounced that he was extremely concerned about what was happening on our streets. Absolutely nothing has been done however. We need a special crime task force, interventions to help young people, and interventions to provide alternatives to crime for teenagers who are being drawn in by the drugs gangs. We need to help parents who are being levied with drug debts on behalf of their children. We need to see action from this Government. Fine Gael has always talked of itself as a party which, when in government, seeks to keep law and order. In certain parts of Dublin 15, it is failing dramatically. This is because it is not competent to run the Garda, the policing service, in a way that provides citizens and their children with the help they need.
What is more, we are being told that Tusla is proposing to withdraw the limited counselling services it provides in a number of DEIS schools. These services are provided in schools in which children have seen young men with guns about 100 yd from the school gate and Tusla is withdrawing them because they are not part of any Tusla-type medical service. What is going to happen? I really am perplexed as to why a Government which suggested at its outset that it might have some competence is unable to learn the lessons of what happened in the north inner city because of the ongoing drug feud in that area. It has now allowed a parallel drug feud to explode in another significant area of the city and appears to have absolutely no answer for it.