A public meeting on crime in Tallaght this week heard calls from local residents for more gardaí, more garda patrol cars and a greater garda presence on the streets to respond to the recent surge in crime levels.
More than 80 people attended the meeting at Fettercairn Community Centre, which was organised by local Fianna Fáil Councillor Charlie O’Connor.
Residents told stories about a spike in burglaries, vandalism and anti-social behaviour as well as the increased prevalence of drugs. The heated meeting also heard serious concerns about a slowdown in the gardaí’s response times when crimes are reported and a reduction in the level of gardaí visible in the community.
Cllr O’Connor explained, “There is a palpable sense of anger among Tallaght residents about the increase in crime levels locally and the fact that nothing is being done about it. The local gardaí have had their resources slashed to the bone and they are under more pressure than ever before. They are getting little or no support from the Government. Despite consistently going above and beyond the call of duty, they simply do not have the resources or manpower to provide the cover that our local communities need.
“Tallaght is the third largest population centre in the country. It is a tight-knit community with many local residents who were born and raised here. People are upset to see the safety of their homes and communities threatened by daily incidents of vandalism, anti-social behaviour and drug related crime. The Government has abandoned the people of Tallaght by cutting the local gardaí’s resources so low that there simply isn’t the manpower to keep our streets safe,” said Cllr O’Connor.
The Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Justice, Niall Collins TD, chaired the meeting. He said the anger being felt in Tallaght is being felt right across Dublin.
“This surge in crime levels is not unique to Tallaght. It’s a Dublin wide problem. Just yesterday, a brutal gun attack was carried out in the middle of the morning, in broad daylight in the busy residential area of Drumcondra. The capital is experiencing an escalating crime crisis and communities are paying the price of the Government burying its head in the sand,” said Deputy Collins.
“We need a radical overhaul of policing in Dublin. This needs to start with filling very serious gaps in the garda force and giving the gardaí the resources they need to increase street patrols and respond quickly to criminal activity. We need to reinstate the intelligence-led garda drugs units that have been cut dramatically over the past three years. We also need a Minister for Drugs who is dedicated to overseeing a crackdown on drug crime and drug related intimidation. We also need a Public Order Unit to tackle the anti-social behaviour and public disorder incidents that are plaguing our communities.”