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Minister for Justice Helen McEntee PA
Cherry Orchard

Justice minister announces plans to tackle anti-social behaviour after garda car rammed

The incident, which involved a car ramming a Garda vehicle, has been widely condemned.

LAST UPDATE | 23 Sep 2022

THE MINISTER FOR Justice has unveiled plans to crack down on anti-social problems in Cherry Orchard, where a garda car was rammed by joyriders on Monday evening.

Among a number of measures will be an increase of high-visibility policing in the area, including the city centre. 

McEntee visited the area today to hear about the community’s concerns and meet with a number of local representatives.

The incident, which involved a car ramming a Garda vehicle, has been widely condemned.

Footage of the incident, which also shows dozens of onlookers cheering after the Garda car is rammed, was shared online.

Yesterday, gardaí raided six homes in the Ballyfermot area in connection with Monday’s incident. While the properties were searched, no arrests were made.

McEntee and Minister of State with Responsibility for Law Reform James Browne met with community representatives and organisations, public representatives, as well as garda members.

Reiterating her condemnation of the incident, McEntee said: “It was obviously unacceptable that this community should have to put up with this type of behaviour, or that members of An Garda Siochana should be treated in this way.

“But the reason that I’m here today is to work with the community to try and respond and ensure that there is a criminal justice response, that we have the gardaí and the resources to support that the community need to respond to these types of issues.
“But beyond that we support the community in making sure that the right type of resources, the right type of supports, and the right type of comprehensive community response is in place.
“There are fantastic people working in this community, living in this community, who just want to get on with their lives and support those who need their help.

“What I’ve given today is a commitment that as Minister for Justice, we will respond and that we will help them with that co-ordinated response.”

She also rejected a suggestion that the Government has ignored warnings from local councillors in the area who have been flagging anti-social behaviour issues for some time.

“We’ve been speaking to local gardaí, who for some months now have been working with the local community, responding to these types of incidents, and trying to put in place the most effective policing response, while at the same time working with the community groups to try and get to the crux and behind what is actually happening,” McEntee added.

“What we saw on Monday evening I think was probably an escalation of a lot of what is happening.

“What I intend to do now is make sure that the most comprehensive response is put in place, not just in terms of criminal justice responses but the wider response that the community need.”

McEntee said today that any change in the area following the additional resources will take some time. 

The Fine Gael minister said Cherry Orchard was a “wonderful community” and needed support to lift it.

CAB funds

During a meeting today, McEntee, Browne, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and Assistant Commissioner Angela Wilis 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. 

These include the Community Safety Innovation Fund, which will reinvest the proceeds of crime seized by CAB into community safety projects. 

The first round of awards will be announced by McEntee and Browne imminently, with funding being drawn down by the end of the year. 

However, 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. 

A local Fine Gael Senator has said a funding boost for the Familibase organisation will provide “huge opportunities” for young people in the Ballyfermot and Cherry Orchard areas. 

“This boost is extremely positive for the area. This is a close knit and proud community that deserves State support and investment to ensure an equality of opportunity for our young people,” Senator Mary Seery-Kearney said. 

“I support and welcome the tremendous work that Familibase carry out. The organisation works with children, young people, and families in Dublin 10. This project proposes to respond to the needs of 30 ‘hard to reach’ young people through an assertive outreach programme,” she said. 

“Street workers would build relationships with identified young people and will apply an intensive wraparound case management programme as engagement with the families of the target group. This is key for sustainable change to take place.” 

O’Connell Street Garda Station

Both the Justice Minister and the Garda Commissioner have said that a ‘high visibility’ policing plan will be put in place on O’Connell Street in Dublin to tackle anti-social behaviour in the city centre.

In a statement this afternoon, the Department of Justice confirmed that a new Garda station would be opened “in the coming months”, but until then gardaí would remain stationed in the area.

“The development of a permanent Garda station on O’Connell Street is a priority and, until the new facility opens, a high-visibility Garda presence will be maintained on the street,” a spokesperson for the Department said. 

The Department of Justice said a property at 13A O’Connell Street has been identified as a “strategically important” piece of infrastructure to enhance Garda policing services in Dublin. 

The premises will act as a ‘hub’ and offer most of the services of a public office of a Garda station.

Gardaí attached to certain operations such as Operation Citizen will be able to report for duty at the hub rather than their home station.

The Irish Tourist Assistance Service, which provides assistance to tourists who have been the victims of crime, will also be co-located at the premises.

Planning permission has been granted this week for a change of use of the premises.

With reporting by Tadgh McNally and Press Association

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