Assistant Commissioner dismisses claims there are not enough gardaí on Dublin streets
7th July 2021
DUBLIN’S MOST SENIOR garda has dismissed claims by a councillor that there are not enough gardaí policing public order in the city centre. © SIPA USA PA Images
Assistant Commissioner Anne Marie Cagney, who leads the Dublin Metropolitan Region, was responding to comments by Councillor Ray McAdams at the city’s Joint Policing Committee today.
Cllr McAdam claimed during the meeting that he had not observed gardaí on patrol and said it was simply not good enough.
“I don’t believe that there is sufficient, high visibility policing taking place in the city centre at present.
“I’m continuing to receive significant numbers of complaints, as a north inner city representative, and I believe what’s happening there is simply not good enough. And it’s not having the impact or the effect that we need it to.
“There’s a huge amount of outdoor dining taking place, an awful lot of people on the street and as someone who’s been out during the daytime and for the evening time over the last four weeks, I have to say for three of those four weeks, I didn’t come across one guard. We’ve had enough,” the Fine Gael Councillor said.
Cagney said she did not agree with the comments and defended the garda handling of city centre public order policing.
“I will take your comments on board but I’m going to refute some of them because if you had come in with those concerns prior to two weeks ago, I’d say that there was certainly some merit to some of your concerns, but for the last two weeks we’ve been very satisfied with the policing response in the city,” she said.
Cagney said that she and other senior gardaí had meetings with business people in the city centre and had received positive comments about the policing.
She added the reopening of society was a policing priority and said that gardaí had started with a different approach to it by deploying “a heavy presence” of public order units.
But Cagney explained that they changed that approach after “significant feedback” from human rights groups and some of the business and residential communities.
“We reflect and we adjust and every week we’ve adjusted our policing plans. We then decided to turn that into a high visibility presence of frontline responders on the ground and that’s currently what’s going on.
“So Councillor McAdam if you’re not meeting the guards on the ground I’m very disappointed to hear that because I’m meeting them at weekends and I actually go out and about on weekends to make sure that it’s working correctly.
“Chief Michael McElgunn (Chief superintendent in Dublin South Central) is on the line here, and whatever about me going out for an hour or two, he actually spends between eight and 10 hours on the beat (foot patrol) at weekends in the city center, and we are seeing a huge presence of guards in the city centre,” she said.
Cagney said that such is the volume of gardaí being deployed in Dublin city centre on weekend nights that other policing areas are suffering from lack of numbers.
“We have guards coming in from every division in the DMR and I’m facing criticism from my own Chiefs because they are tasked with running policing services in their own divisions, and they’re also tasked with providing support to the city centre on weekends by providing resources to me,” she added. © PA Garda on duty in Dublin City Centre on the June Bank Holiday .
Cagney said that Public Order Units were also deployed to the city centre to react to incidents as they arise.
“So, there is absolutely no possible way that there is not a garda presence in Dublin City centre at the weekend, and I can absolutely reassure you that the guards are there because I see them myself,” she added.