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Policing patrols stepped up at North Dublin DART stations after series of incidents involving youths

Several social media videos show jumping on a car and a woman falling under a train after an approach by youths.

Image: Shutterstock/4H4 Photography

CONCERNS OVER A series of incidents involving young people has seen gardaí step up patrols in the Dublin coastal villages of Howth and Malahide.

Videos have circulated online of a number of incidents, including a gang of teens surrounding a car at traffic lights, while another young person jumped on its roof; the assault of two children; and a horrifying incident during which a woman fell underneath a DART in Howth Station.

On that occasion, in April, the CCTV from the station shows the woman passed by a group of youths, one of whom advanced aggressively towards her. Another youth then pushed his bicycle in her direction and the woman stumbled and fell off the side of the platform, next to a stationary train.

The woman was subsequently lifted from the tracks to safety by a security guard, who was clearly shaken by what he had just witnessed. After the woman fell, one of the group of teens placed his hands to his head in shock, and the group were seen on CCTV moving away from the scene.

The second incident, just this weekend, involved a gang of youths surrounding a car that was stopped at traffic lights. Video from the scene appeared to show some members of the group lashing out at another youth who was on top of the car.

The incident escalated to the extent that the occupants of the car got out, before the gang ran away, still in pursuit of the youth who had been standing on the car.  This incident happened in Malahide, near the newly pedestrianised New Street.

When gardaí were contacted regarding the Howth incident they confirmed they were investigating.

“Gardaí are investigating an incident of assault that occurred in Howth Junction Dart Station on 1 April 2021 at approximately 9pm.

“A woman fell from the train platform during the incident and sustained injuries. An investigation is ongoing into this matter. No arrests have been made at this time,” a garda spokesperson said.

The spokesperson confirmed that gardaí had placed “proactive patrols” at DART stations to combat the problem of anti-social behaviour and were doing so in connection with Irish Rail.

The Garda Press Office would not be drawn on specifics of the policing plan for the area but sources have said that gardaí have responded to the area on numerous occasions over the weekend. Public order vans were sent out to clear where people were congregating.

There have been a number of incidents in the general Malahide area in the recent months with a number of assaults and general public order offences.

Sources told The Journal have also said that Irish Rail security staff have also been subject to assaults and intimidation – which gardaí have responded to on a number of occasions.

Jimmy Guerin is a Howth-based Councillor and he said that this has been a problem in the general Howth, Sutton and Malahide areas for the last five to six years.

“The level has now risen to give a cause of real concern – they are just now more brazen, they seem to enjoy getting filmed.

“Very innocent people are getting hurt, and the social media videos are stark and frightening. There are now a number of residents-groups looking to meet with TDs and guards to find some sort of a solution for this.

“There are two sides to it, residents have been worried about the pedestrianisation of New Street Malahide and they believe it is causing it. I wouldn’t accept that.

“The tolerance of drinking on streets, particularly on The Green in Howth over weekend is a real issue, it is drawing it there – it has become the biggest outdoor bar in the country,” he said.

Another Councillor, Brian McDonagh, that the problem is a regular cause of concern in the area as it “flares up and down” but said the recent incidents are by a minority of teenagers.

“My concern, it is centred on travelling around on trains with bikes. There is a problem in the various areas of anti-social behaviour centred around train stations.

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“There have certainly been greater issues during summers, with arranged confrontations at beaches and elsewhere. I know that gardaí have been looking pre-emptively at social media.

“The group involved seem relatively small, and the solution is a combination of policing and transport policing and then parental responsibility.

“The incidents have been serious enough and they will be getting identified and getting visits from gardaí. These incidents could have resulted in a death, and parents need to speak to their kids about their behaviour,” he said.

The councillor said that gardaí regularly meet residents and also local representatives at Joint Policing Committee meetings when their concerns are aired. He said he was concerned about the summer months and hoped that gardaí would be ready to confront the problem.

Many, including Nicole Byrne, the secretary of Malahide Old Village Residents Association Secretary, complimented gardaí on their work in the area.

Byrne criticised Fingal County Council for pedestrianising New Street in the village and making it an attraction for groups of teenagers and adults alike.

“It is not the kids’ fault, this is about the pedestrianisation of the area, without proper planning or consideration.

“This is civil disobedience created by a planning decision that made this all about business and not about the residents. It is essentially one rule for the children and another rule for adults.

“The children are seeing the adults doing whatever they want in the village here and there are not the same rules for the teenagers. They are just looking at the adults doing what they want,” she said.

Local residents are set to hold an open air meeting in Malahide on Wednesday to discuss the problem.

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