A public meeting on crime in Drumcondra has heard calls for a new public order unit in Dublin to address spiralling levels of drug crime.

More than 60 people attended the meeting in the Skylon Hotel last night, arranged by Dublin City Councillors Paul McAuliffe and David Costello.  It was chaired by the Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Justice Niall Collins.

Local residents told stories about increased burglaries, petty thefts, blatant drug dealing and anti-social behaviour.  They also expressed concern about slow garda response times in the wake of severe cuts to garda resources, including the shutting down of Whitehall Garda Station and downgrading of Santry Garda Station.

Deputy Collins said, “People are angry, frustrated and anxious about the increasing level of crime in their communities.  They feel that the Government is turning a blind eye to the spike in crime, as the local gardaí are severely hampered in their ability to prevent and respond to criminality.

“The Dublin North West area has suffered severe cuts to garda resources, with Whitehall Garda Station shut down in the Government’s cull of local garda stations in in 2013 and Santry Garda Station downgraded. In addition to this, resources for local garda drugs units have been slashed.  Locals have told me that this has led to delays in garda response times as the gardaí are under serious pressure and they simply don’t have the manpower or support that they used to have.  It’s a viscous cycle that’s spiralling out of control.

“Unfortunately the stories we heard at the meeting last night have become all too familiar.  There is not one community in Dublin that hasn’t been hit by an increase in crime over the past four years. The level of blatant drug dealing and abuse in the city centre is out of control.  Dubliners should not be expected to just accept this.  It is time that decisive action was taken to tackle the crime crisis in the capital.

“My colleagues, Cllr David Costello and Cllr Paul McAuliffe, and I are proposing the establishment of a public order unit in Dublin to clean up the city. We are also calling for the immediate reestablishment of a dedicated Minister for Drugs to oversee the National Drugs Strategy, which is clearly no longer a priority for this Government.  The continued cuts targeting An Garda Síochána must also stop.  The force has been undermined consistently by this Government. We need better supports for gardaí who are working in the community to prevent and support crime.”

Fianna Fáil will continue a series of public meetings on crime in Dublin in the coming weeks in Fettercairn, Finglas, Swords, Dun Laoghaire and Dublin-Rathdown.