Helen McEntee, is in Cuckoo Land, the Gangs run O’ Connell Street, not Forgetting the Romani Gypsies, Robbing the Shops, and so well Organised? Fact.

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New ‘street crime’ Garda taskforce for Dublin to be established

Christina Finn – 4th November 2022

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JUSTICE MINISTER HELEN McEntee has said that a special taskforce being set up to deal with street crime in Dublin is the gardaí ensuring their response is “adequate” and “appropriate” to concerns raised about Dublin city centre. 

New ‘street crime’ Garda taskforce for Dublin to be established©

Focus on Dublin’s O’Connell street came in for sharp focus in recent weeks after RTÉ’s ‘Prime Time’ programme highlighted crime and anti-social behaviour taking place on the street. 

It is understood the task force could include operations to target low and mid-level drug dealing and will operate across the entire six divisions in the Garda Dublin Metropolitan Region and not just the city centre.

Speaking to reporters in Kells, County Meath this morning, the minister said a number of different operations by the gardaí have “worked extremely well across the city in recent years”, citing Operation Spire and Operation Citizen in particular.

Anti-social behaviour

Two operations, Operation Citizen and Operation Spire, specifically target anti-social behaviour and drug dealing will be run from the new premises, alongside potential victim support.

Operation Spire, a plainclothes Garda operation run out of Store Street Garda station is aimed at tackling anti-social behaviour and knife crime.

Operation Citizen also tackles anti-social behaviour and other crimes within Dublin city centre, with 100 Gardaí patrolling areas around the quays and Liffey boardwalk.

The minister said Operation Citizen has been “relaunched”, with gardaí working with local businesses to tackle anti-social behaviour.

Speaking about the new task force, McEntee said “what the gardaí are looking to do is to enhance those operations but also see what more we can do”. 

She said Assistant Commissioner for Dublin Angela Willis, who is believed to have suggested the new taskforce, has been been doing excellent work leading on the response in the Dublin City Centre area.

“We know that there are concerns in particular about our city centre, but this is the gardaí making sure that their response is adequate, that it’s appropriate. We will have more details of that when it’s finalised,” said McEntee

Additional Garda presence on the city centre street was recently announced by the minister, with a new Garda premises on O’Connell Street forming a part of an effort to increase police presence within the city centre.

Cautions by gardaí

Minister of State with responsibility for Ireland’s drugs strategy, Frank Feighan has said gardaí should be able to caution rather than charge those with drug addictions who have been caught with drugs such as cocaine.

Responding, McEntee said this is a key recommendation from the taskforce on mental health that she established alongside Health Minister Stephen Donnelly. 

The taskforce reviewed why there are so many in Ireland’s criminal justice system who have addiction and mental health problems and how the State could “provide a more holistic and a more appropriate response”, she said.

“This is one of the recommendations that has to be worked through. We published the report only in the last few weeks and we’ve set out clearly timelines as to how we can engage with and work across the different agencies,” she said.

“So there’s still work to do,” she said, stating that this government and previous governments have agreed to look at this from a public health perspective in trying to work with and support people who have addiction problems.

“And really, this is just another iteration of that,” said McEntee, while acknowledging that “it’s not straightforward” in terms of how you differentiate between those that have addiction problems, and then other issues as well”. 

“It’s something that we would work through as part of the recommendations,” said the minister. 

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