I welcome the report by former Assistant Garda Commissioner Jack Nolan outlining a socio-economic and community plan for Darndale and its surrounding areas. Dublin City Council commissioned this report in response to the escalating levels of violence in the Darndale, Belcamp and Moatview areas of north Dublin in 2019 and 2020, and my officials have been in close contact with Dublin City Council on this matter. The report provides a comprehensive overview of the area’s assets, services, and supports as well as its challenges.
As well as important recommendations related to crime prevention and dismantling gangs, two key recommendations in the report include the need to strengthen community participants and leadership, and the need for more collaborative service delivery.
As the Deputy may be aware, my Department is currently developing a Community Safety Policy which takes a new approach to policing, crime prevention and youth engagement. It echoes many of the elements in the Darndale report, including the importance of strengthening community representation and leadership. Strong community participation in identifying the needs of a community and developing solutions is key. Also central to the new policy is a more collaborative approach to service delivery, as identified in the report. Services need to work together to tackle the range of issues that makes a community feel unsafe, which goes beyond the sole remit of An Garda Síochána. This new approach is to be established on a pilot basis ahead of a nationwide rollout as part of 'A Policing Service for our Future', the Government's implementation plan for the recommendations of the Commission on the Future of Policing.
My Department is engaging with Dublin City Council and former Assistant Garda Commissioner Jack Nolan on the follow up to this report in order to see how we can best support responses in the area. I would like to offer the Deputy my commitment to actively support the implementation of this report.
The Deputy will also wish to note that a new Garda Building and Refurbishment programme 2022-2027 is currently under discussion between An Garda Síochána, the OPW and officials from my Department. This plan will include a new DMR North Divisional HQ at Northern Cross.
More broadly, the Deputy will be aware of the commitment in the Programme for Government to convene an expert forum on anti-social behaviour and this will provide a key focus for further development of policy in this area. In addition, the Programme for Government further commits to developing a new Youth Justice Strategy, which will be finalised before the end of the year and which will provide a national developmental framework to pursue more effective engagement, collaboration and community support related to youth offending and the factors which underlie it.