Home > Dáil Éireann debate. Written answer 24 & 54 - Antisocial behaviour [60629/22, 60238/22].

[Oireachtas] Dáil Éireann debate. Written answer 24 & 54 - Antisocial behaviour [60629/22, 60238/22]. (06 Dec 2022)

External website: https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/question/2022...

24. Deputy Emer Higgins asked the Minister for Justice her plans to tackle the rise in anti-social behaviour in our capital city; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [60629/22]

Minister of State at the Department of Justice: I can assure the Deputy that the Government is committed to tackling anti-social behaviour and I am very aware of the damaging effect it can have on communities, particularly disadvantaged areas. It is vital that people are safe and feel safe and my Department is committed to ensuring An Garda Síochána have the resources they need to achieve this and to working across Government on a multi agency approach to the underlying causes of crime. 

The government are taking action to tackle anti-social behaviour in the following ways:

  • giving An Garda Síochána the tools and technology to fight crime in a digital era by rolling out improved CCTV, body worn cameras and facial recognition technology
  • Enacting legislation to tackle the illegal use of scramblers
  • giving local people and local representatives a real say in how to make their communities safer through the new Community Safety Partnerships
  • using community sanctions to address criminality, reduce reoffending and provide protection to the public
  • publishing and enacting the Garda Powers Bill to modernise and update the powers available to An Garda Síochána
  • publishing and enacting new legislation to criminalise the grooming of children to commit criminal offences, together with an intervention programme to support communities and break the link between the gangs and vulnerable youths
  • An Garda Síochána have a number of operations currently in place to tackle anti-social behaviour in Dublin. Operation Citizen is designed to provide reassurance to the public, visitors and businesses of Dublin City Centre that it is a safe place to visit, socialise and do business in through an enhanced police presence. I am informed that the Gardaí will continue the operation for a further period of twelve months to November 2023, after which time it will be further evaluated.
  • Operation Citizen is supported by other Garda Operations such as Operation Saul and Operation Spire. Operation Saul focuses on tackling anti-social behaviour on public transport networks in the Dublin Metropolitan Region. Operation Spire was initiated to combat all anti-social behaviour, particularly the supply of drugs in the O'Connell Street area.
  • I understand the Office of Public Works is currently refurbishing a suitable premises at 13A O'Connell Street and that the planned opening of a permanent Garda Station at this location will support the maintenance of a high visibility presence by Gardaí in the area.  The Station will have a public office for members of the public to seek support and report crimes, and provide support to victims of crime. It will serve as a hub for Gardaí without the need to return to their designated station, as well as being the base location for Operation Citizen. 
  • Evidence shows that the most effective way to tackle anti-social behaviour is through supports and services, such as Youth Diversion Schemes and the Community Safety Innovation Fund. Three innovative new Local Community Safety Partnerships are currently being piloted, including one in Dublin's North Inner City. These are designed to identify and prioritise the issues causing communities to feel unsafe and to address them collaboratively.
  • Of course, all of these initiatives must be seen in the context of the record level of resources being provided to An Garda Síochána to fund personnel and equipment, and the implementation of the Report of the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland which is aimed at the delivery of a  world class policing service.


54. Deputy Alan Farrell asked the Minister for Justice the status of efforts to tackle crime as detailed in the Justice Plan for 2022; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [60238/22]

Minister for Justice: One of the overarching goals set out in Justice Plan 2022 aims to build a safer Ireland by reducing and preventing crime, continually working to enhance national security, and by transforming and strengthening An Garda Síochána.

In the long term, our success against this goal will be reflected by a reduction in recorded crime, the strength and skill of the Garda workforce, public perceptions of personal safety in homes and communities, and the trust that members of the public have in An Garda Síochána. According to the 2021 Garda Public Attitudes Survey, 91% of respondents have trust in An Garda Síochána, which remains at the same high level as 2019 (91%), and is an increase of two percentage points from 2017 and 2018. 

The Government is committed to ensuring that An Garda Síochána has the resources it needs to fight crime, with record funding of over €2.14 billion allocated to the Garda Vote in Budget 2023. This includes provision for the recruitment of up to 1,000 additional Garda members and 400 Garda staff over the course of 2023. Budget 2023 also includes an allocation of €3 million to begin procurement of body worn cameras, an extra €21 million in the ICT budget and a €10 million investment in the Garda fleet.

Minister McEntee recently received approval to publish the Policing, Security and Community Safety Bill which, when enacted, will give effect to the recommendations made by the Commission on the Future of Policing in Ireland (CoFPI). The Bill will, amongst other changes, provide for new local community safety partnerships, which are currently being piloted in three locations across the country (North Inner City Dublin, Longford and Waterford).

These partnerships bring together all of the key stakeholders to develop a community safety plan for their area under the guidance of an independent chair, who then ensures that the actions are delivered by the individual members representing State agencies, the community and voluntary sector and local government, who are tasked with specific actions under the plan.

Following Government approval, the Garda Síochána (Recording Devices) Bill 2022 was published in August 2022. This important Bill makes provision for Garda powers to use modern digital technology in the fight against crime, including body worn cameras, automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) and CCTV, in line with the recommendations of CoFPI.

In coordination with colleagues in the National Rural Safety Forum, Minister James Browne launched the Rural Safety Plan 2022-2024 in September 2022. The Plan’s vision is to ensure people and communities in rural Ireland feel safe and are safe in their homes, places of work, and their local environments.

An Garda Síochána also has a range of operations aimed at reducing crime, anti-social behaviour and improving feelings of community safety. Operation Tara, An Garda Síochána's enhanced national anti-drugs strategy, commenced in July last year and has a strong focus on tackling street-level drug dealing throughout rural and urban Ireland.

Operation Citizen, which commenced in Dublin city centre in October 2021, is a Garda Operation aimed at reassuring the public that Dublin city is safe through high visibility patrolling and community engagement. Introduced in January 2022, Operation Saul is a complimentary operation to Operation Citizen, focused on public transport networks in the DMR.

I can assure the Deputy that crime trends are analysed on a monthly basis by An Garda Síochána at Divisional meetings. If trends are recognised, resources are dedicated to combat the identified issues. When specific crime-trends/pattern are identified, local management consider additional measures outside of normal policing responses, including location-specific patrols, intelligence-led operations, and searches and arrests to combat known individuals involved in such crimes. 

For instance, Operation Préachán was initiated in August 2022 to disrupt, detect and prevent criminal activities in the Cherry Orchard area of Ballyfermot, with a focus on Unauthorised Taking of mechanically propelled vehicles, Criminal Damage, Dangerous Driving and Public Disorder.   

In line with a commitment in the Programme for Government, an Expert Forum on Anti-Social Behaviour (ASB) was established last year and chaired by my colleague, Minister Browne. Members of the ASB Forum are drawn from key State agencies, including An Garda Síochána, the Probation Service and key Government Departments, as well as a broad representation of community, business, academic and other experts.

The ASB Forum is examining a broad range of issues with a focus on developing measures which will counteract the negative impact of such behaviour on community morale and quality of life. 

Item Type
Dail Debates
Publication Type
Drug Type
Substances (not alcohol/tobacco)
Intervention Type
Crime prevention
6 December 2022

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