People don’t feel safe in their own community

By Aisling Considine

by Gazette Reporter
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It is clear there is a great community spirit in Dublin’s South West Inner City with lots of community initiatives and campaigning being carried out by individuals and organisations to make the area better for everyone. 

Aisling Considine

At a recent public safety meeting  held in St Catherine’s Church on Thomas St, the chief concern raised by many was that people just don’t feel safe in the community. 

This was attributed to several factors, chief among them the lack of a Garda presence and visibility in the area. Many pointed out the increase in anti-social behaviour, including violence, open drug use, vandalism and break-ins. 

Swan Alley and other laneways off Thomas St and Meath Street were singled out as being of particular concern. 

The sense of threat is exacerbated by lack of street lighting in certain areas and slow engagement of Dublin City Council to replace broken lights. Sufficient lighting can have a marked effect: a representative from the Circle K petrol station on Usher’s Quay reported that they noticed a decrease in criminal and anti-social behaviours following an investment of 10000e in improving the street lighting around the premises. 

The lack of green spaces and recreational facilities was criticised as a contributing factor for young people in the area, particularly young males, turning to crime and drugs. 

The people of the Liberties have been waiting 12 years for green spaces at sites on Marrowbone Lane and St Teresa’s Gardens. On a brighter note, there was a welcome update on Donore Community Centre – the date for completion was given as “end of 2025”. But again participants criticised the slow progress of Dublin City Council: it has been three years since the fire that forced the community centre’s closure. 

An elderly resident of Meath Square spoke about how she and her neighbours have to deal with horse manure from horse and traps that transport tourists around the area from the back of the Guinness Brewery. She explained that the smell was disgusting and that the manure washes into people’s homes when it rains, causing a health hazard. The very young in the population were also mentioned- playgrounds are not being maintained to an acceptable standard and one participant reported seeing children playing in an area with broken glass on the ground. 

Council representatives and Garda Inspector Áine McCarvill responded to some of the concerns highlighted. Residents were advised to report issues to the Council through the ‘Citizen Hubs’ on the DCC website, however many in attendance reported a lack of engagement from the council when they use the Citizen Hub to report issues. 

 Attendees also requested that some follow up feedback be provided by the Council to detail the solutions to the issues raised at these community safety meetings.

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