I had a similar Topical Issue matter last week, where I concentrated on the Dublin South-Central area of the south west inner city. My appeal today concerns the Ballyfermot and Drimnagh areas of Dublin South-Central, of which the south west inner city is a part. Much work has been done by local communities, voluntary groups, Dublin City Council and others over the years to ensure that the disorder in Ballyfermot which had been associated with the Hallowe'en period in the distant past was never repeated. Hallowe'en has been a joyous time for young people and the elderly in Ballyfermot and Cherry Orchard in recent times, but we cannot be complacent as we try to ensure that continues.
Hallowe'en is not just one day. I am also dealing with the run up to it. We need adequate Garda resources - feet on the ground to back up Dublin City Council crews who are removing bonfire material in advance, Dublin City Council clean-up crews and Dublin Fire Brigade and other emergency services who end up tackling dangerous bonfires that often destroy public parks. Ambulances responding to injuries or illnesses have come under attack or have been prevented from going to where they need to be. We have stated repeatedly that we need adequate numbers of gardaí to be on duty to respond if a situation develops, as it did in the distant past in Ballyfermot and the recent past in Drimnagh.
We know from recent court cases that criminal elements can easily use Hallowe'en as a cover for something more sinister. I urge An Garda Síochána to be particularly mindful of that in Ballyfermot this year. My understanding is that a policing plan for Ballyfermot has been submitted to Garda management. This plan is obviously dependent on Garda overtime, which, up to last week, had not been authorised for these policing plans around Hallowe'en. I ask the Minister of State, Deputy Doyle, to ask the Minister for Justice and Equality to get the Minister for Finance to release adequate funding to ensure that the city but particularly the areas I identified this week and last week have sufficient gardaí on the beat to deal with Hallowe'en. I also want the message to go out to the Commissioner that he must authorise these policing plans to ensure that work is done. I want to ensure that this time, the concerns of residents in Ballyfermot and Cherry Orchard are listened to and responded to properly unlike in the past, where sometimes genuine concerns around criminality and antisocial behaviour were ignored in this House and within An Garda Síochána. We need to hear the Minister say loud and clear that our gardaí have adequate budgetary resources to keep communities safe this Hallowe'en.