Fianna Fáil Press Office
Cllr John Lahart
Dublin South West

1 December 2015

More Gardaí Required to Combat Urban Crime – Lahart

Fianna Fáil candidate for Dublin South West Cllr John Lahart has criticised the Government’s policy of slashing Garda numbers, which he says has resulted in many people living in fear in their own homes, businesses under continuous threat of theft and anti-social behaviour on our streets.

Cllr Lahart’s comments come in the wake of new CSO statistics for the first six months of 2015 which show a dramatic increase in crime in urban areas. People who live in Dublin are 60 times more likely to become victims of crime than in some parts of the country. The figures include crimes such as car theft, interfering with a vehicle, bicycle theft, pick-pocketing, bag snatching, thefts from a person or business.

“There has been much media coverage of the rise in rural crime, but the statistics show that urban crime is an even bigger problem and cutting Garda numbers is not going to help the situation,” he pointed out.

Fianna Fáil has produced a seven point plan which will seek to address the growing crime problem in Dublin and ensure that all citizens can live in safety and without fear:

· 14,000 GARDAÍ
We are committed to strengthening the Garda force to 14,000 members and
maintaining Garda numbers at this optimal level. We will seek to
increase the Garda Reserve to 2000 members. We will also provide the
squad cars necessary for the Gardaí to carry out their duties.

· A DEDICATED GARDA PUBLIC ORDER UNIT FOR DUBLIN CITY CENTRE
Fianna Fáil proposes the creation of a dedicated Dublin
Garda Síochána Public Order Unit to combat drug dealing and anti-social
behaviour on the capital’s main commercial streets. This unit would be
instructed to focus specifically on public order and anti-social
behaviour and would have its own dedicated support team and management
structure within An Garda Síochána. This unit would be present and
visible on Dublin’s main streets 24/7 and have its membership numbers
ring-fenced from all other Garda units.

· INTRODUCTION OF DUBLIN COMMUNITY COURTS
Fianna Fáil believes that now is the time to establish Community Courts
in the capital to deal with low level offences such as vandalism,
shoplifting and drug use. These courts would follow the model already in
use in Britain, Australia and Canada, where the focus is on a
problem-solving approach to local crime and safety concerns and
restoring the community.

These courts would involve input from the local community and local
businesses. Community Service Orders handed down by these courts would
ensure that the offender would give back to their community by carrying
out work in the area where the offence took place.

· DUBLIN TRANSPORT POLICE
Fianna Fáil will examine the concept of establishing a Dublin Transport
Police unit which will be responsible for enforcing the law on all
public transport services in Dublin. The majority of this funding would
be sourced through the public transport operators themselves. The powers
of the Transport Police will reflect the powers of An Garda Síochána
with specific limits as to jurisdiction.

· PROTECT THE ELDERLY
We will enact legislation to introduce longer sentences for those who
assault elderly persons who are increasingly vulnerable in rural and
urban communities.

· TOUGHER SENTENCES FOR BURGLARS
We will introduce legislation for mandatory minimum sentences for those
who are convicted of burglary offences. We will also establish a
Sentencing Council to promote consistency in sentencing.

· RESTORATIVE JUSTICE
We commit to expanding the use of restorative justice in our criminal
justice system where appropriate and ensure that community service
orders are fit for purpose and monitored effectively. We will deduct the
cost of free criminal legal aid from those convicted from their income
and social welfare payments.

-ENDS-