Justice Minister Helen McEntee has announced a number of measures to crack down on anti-social behaviour following the ramming of a garda car in Cherry Orchard earlier this week.
High-visibility patrols will be stepped up in problem areas, including in the city centre.
However, after a meeting with top gardaí, a joint statement said the best say to deal with anti-social behaviour is through supports for communities and young people, such as Youth Diversion Programmes and other services.
Minister McEntee said it is “vitally important” that people are safe and feel safe in communities and city centres.
Ms McEntee said people who “deserve to be punished will be punished” and communities seeking help will get it.
“We will always support communities – honest, hard-working people who want and deserve to be safe on their streets,” she said.
“We will never allow anti-social behaviour from a small minority terrorise any community.”
Minister McEntee and the Minister of State with Law Reform James Browne met today in the Department of Justice with Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and Angela Willis, Assistant Commissioner for the Dublin Metropolitan Region.
The meeting was convened to discuss safety and anti-social behaviour in Dublin and other areas following public concern over a number of recent incidents.
The Ministers and Commissioner agreed that “high visibility policing is crucial to ensuring that people are safe and feel safe”.
Ms McEntee said: “High visibility policing is central to this, and Operation Citizen and other initiatives are key to ensuring that people can enjoy Dublin, whether they live or work in the city – or just want to enjoy all it has to offer.”
“As Minister for Justice, I will always support An Garda Síochána with the resources and tools they need to fund these important operations.
“However, the most important way we can tackle anti-social behaviour is through supports and services, such as Youth Diversion Schemes and the Community Safety Innovation Fund.”
This will be prioritised by supporting and enhancing operations, such as Operation Citizen, which provides a visible presence in the city centre, and Operation Tombola, which tackles anti-social behaviour over the Halloween period, and high visibility policing through local teams in our towns and cities.
Ms McEntee said ongoing recruitment into An Garda Síochána will be “key” to achieving this, with the Minister and Commissioner agreeing that 200 recruits will soon enter the Garda College every three months.
A high-visibility Garda presence will be maintained on O’Connell Street until a new permanent Garda station opens.
The new station received planning permission this week and when opened in the coming months, will provide a permanent base for Gardaí working on Operation Citizen.
An increased presence on public transport, which can be provided through the Dublin Metropolitan Region, was also discussed.
Minister McEntee asked the Commissioner to also review the operation of anti-social behaviour legislation and procedures.
An Garda Síochána are continuing to ensure compliance with bail requirements by repeat offenders.
Ms McEntee will also examine what more can be done to assist Gardaí, such as the potential expansion of bail supervision schemes.
The Ministers, Commissioner and Assistant Commissioner agreed that the most effective way to deal with anti-social behaviour is through supports for communities and young people, such as Youth Diversion Programmes and other services, as led by Minister Browne through the Youth Justice Strategy.
These include the Community Safety Innovation Fund, established by Minister McEntee and Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath, to reinvest the proceeds of crime seized by the Criminal Assets Bureau (CAB), into community safety projects.
The first round of awards will be announced by Minister McEntee and Minister Browne imminently, with funding being drawn down by the end of the year.
However, Minister McEntee today confirmed that one of the successful applicants is the “That’s a Wrap” project from Familibase, which serves Ballyfermot and the surrounding areas.
The project will be given over €135,000 to assist with outreach programmes for hard-to-reach young people.
It was also agreed that tackling inter-generational deprivation requires a whole-of-society response, and that the development of Community Safety Partnerships will be the key mechanism for ensuring that all aspects of Irish society work together to make sure that people are safe and feel safe in their communities.