Home > Dáil Éireann debate. Dublin City safety initiatives and other services: statements. Vol. 1029 no. 5.

[Oireachtas] Dáil Éireann debate. Dublin City safety initiatives and other services: statements. Vol. 1029 no. 5. (17 Nov 2022)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/debate/dail/2...

Minister for Justice (Deputy Helen McEntee): I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this important debate. Community safety is about people being safe, and just as importantly, feeling safe. We want visitors to Dublin to be able to enjoy our vibrant, historic capital city. We want the people who live in it to experience it as a friendly, safe place to bring up their families and go about their lives. We want those who work in the city to have peace of mind that Dublin is a safe, welcoming place to do business. I think we all agree with those statements. To achieve this, it is vital that we have a shared approach… 

Operation Citizen is not an isolated response. It works in tandem with a number of different operations currently ongoing in the city centre. These include Operation Saul, which aims to provide a safer environment for commuters who are travelling in the Dublin metropolitan region, and Operation Spire, which is part of an ongoing strategy by gardaí in Store Street aimed at targeting anti-social behaviour and drug dealing on O'Connell Street. To support Operation Citizen further, a property located at 13A Upper O'Connell Street is currently being redeveloped as a Garda station to enhance the high-visibility policing service in Dublin city centre. The new station will have a public office for members of the public to seek support and report crimes and to provide support to victims of crime when they come in. 

It will serve as a hub which on-duty gardaí can report to directly without the need to return to their designated station, as well as being the parade location for Operation Citizen. It will be where members meet, go through what they will do for the day, and the place from which they go about the operation. This new station will increase the visible presence of An Garda Síochána on O'Connell Street and enhance the ability of the gardaí to respond efficiently to criminal activity. In advance of the completion of refurbishment works for the new station, a high-visibility Garda command vehicle has been placed on O'Connell Street and has been manned. Additionally, members assigned to Operation Citizen are proactively engaging with as many businesses operating in the city as possible each week. 

I believe the efforts of An Garda Síochána, supported by my Department, are having an effect. Since Operation Citizen started last year, more than 7,000 arrests have been made and over €6 million worth of suspected illegal drugs have been seized. I am pleased to note that in October 2022, Dublin city centre was awarded purple flag status. This award, which is an international accreditation, recognises Dublin's excellence in its management of the night-time economy. Dublin is one of 40 cities in Europe that have attained the purple flag status. Among the criteria considered in granting this award are crime rates and the willingness of people to go into the city centre after dark. It is a positive reflection on our city overall. 

Protecting our communities and reducing anti-social behaviour is, as I have said, a priority for me and all of Government, so it requires a whole-of-Government response. A key part of this is the ongoing support of the Government for An Garda Síochána, including an unprecedented budget of €2.14 billion, which was allocated this year. This level of funding will support recruitment of up to 1,000 new Garda members and an additional 400 Garda staff in 2023. Coupled with further reassignments of gardaí to operational front-line policing and the continued roll-out of the new operational model, with its focus on community engagement, I am confident that An Garda Síochána will continue to protect communities, combat anti-social behaviour and help to ensure that Dublin's city centre remains a safe place for all…. 

[Click here for the full debate on the Oireachtas website, and the resumed debate].

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