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We need a dedicated Garda unit to clean up Dublin, says Fianna Fáil

The Liffey boardwalk in particular has become a drugs “haven” the party says.

Image: Shutterstock

FIANNA FÁIL’S JUSTICE spokesman Niall Collins has called for the establishment of a new Garda unit to tackle public order and anti-social behaviour problems in Dublin city centre.

The party launched a new Bill on the issue today, calling for it to be debated as soon as possible.

“This unit would work directly with Dublin City Council, the Dublin Business Improvement District, local traders and tourism associations,” Collins said.

“At the moment, there is no garda unit solely dedicated to cleaning up the city centre in this way.”

The new unit would be funded from the annual Garda budget, Collins said – noting that the budget had been increased in each of the past two years.

“At the moment the gardaí do not have the support to tackle this on a day to day basis.

“They simply don’t have the manpower, the resources and the political support to target this type of criminal activity to the extent that is needed.  People living, working and visiting this city should not be expected to just accept this any longer.”

Currently, he said, Dubliners regularly witnessed “open drug-dealing, open drug-taking every single day of the week, and all the criminality that goes with that”.

Senator Darragh O’Brien, who represented Dublin North in the Dáíl before losing his seat in 2011, said Dubliners were expected by the government to except the current situation as a “normal thing.”

“Dubliners are sick of having to turn a blind eye to the ever increasing prevalence of drugs, alcohol abuse, petty theft, vandalism and anti-social behaviour in the city centre.

“The boardwalk along the Liffey has become a drugs haven and it’s extremely upsetting and intimidating for Dubliners and tourists alike.”

Responding to a question from Collins on the issue of a Dublin public order unit last week, Labour junior minister Ann Phelan said the response to crime in the city was coordinated as part of the “Dublin city centre policing plan”.

“This involves a high-visibility uniformed presence on key thoroughfares, as well as the use of undercover gardaí as appropriate.

“Gardaí are maintaining a particular focus on drug dealing and drug related crime, to which the Deputy has referred, in the city centre area.

“A number of targeted city centre policing operations are in place, including Operation Pier, which concentrates on the south quays and Temple Bar areas and Operation Spire which is focused on O’Connell Street and the north inner city.

She added that there was also a “specific public order unit which operates on a reactive basis as the need arises”.

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