BY Amy Rohu and Rose Barrett
Dublin Lord Mayor Hazel Chu has called for extra resources from the Gardai as Ireland begins to emerge from 14 months of virtual lockdown under Covid-19 regulations.
She said the pandemic has been one of the significant drivers of antisocial behaviour occurring across Dublin at the moment.
“At the end of the day we have had three stints of lockdown across a 14 month period. When people are kept in, it becomes a strain on mental and physical health.”
The Lord Mayor stressed that the Gardai had a crucial role to play as the country slowly gets back to more normal ways. “We need more policing and we’ve already said that to the superintendent in the area and to the assistant commissioner. They know this themselves but there is a question of resources. They don’t have enough for the whole city. The issues we are now seeing in specific areas are increasing in the rest of the city. It is not specific to these areas”.
She told the Dublin Gazette: “We also need people to respect the ongoing guidelines although it can be hard. Hopefully with the easing of restrictions, we will see an easing in anti-social behaviour.
“A lot of people are blaming young people, but it isn’t just them. We need to understand this and also figure out how to support them.”
Anti-social behaviour raised its ugly head on both sides of the city in Malahide and Ranelagh and surrounding areas with the involvement of young gangs becoming a major concern.
Residents in Ranelagh took to social media after a boy, 15, was assaulted with a crowbar at a Luas stop in the area last week. The incident happened in the afternoon, with witnesses too frightened to intervene with the gang. The boy was badly beaten and had his bike stolen.
In Malahide, Gardaí are investigating an assault incident which occurred on Saturday last after a youth sustained injuries while a family also had to endure a terrifying ordeal while trapped in their car.
“A male juvenile teen received non-life-threatening injuries. He was not treated by medical personnel at the scene. We are continuing to investigate all the circumstances surrounding this matter,” a Garda spokesman said.
However, the incident saw what initially appeared to be a gang of youth attack a car, which had a family passengers within, including a young child.
A video, showing a youth jump onto the car which was then surrounded by more teenagers, was widely circulated on social media, and ignited a huge online debate calling for more garda resources for the Malahide area.
Cllr Anthony Lavin (FG) said he was shocked by the circumstances of the ordeal. “While I thought this was initially an attack on the car and the family within – it was not,” he said.
“A youth jumped up on the car to avoid a gang pursuing him. He was subsequently knocked off the car, physically attacked and pretty badly beaten. This must have been a terrible ordeal for the family in the car also. I urge anyone with information orvideo footage to contact Malahide Gardai immediately,” he stressed.
Local councilor for the Ranelagh area Dermot Lacey said the incident at the Luas was “appalling.”
“I want to extend my sincere sympathy to the young person who was the victim of the attack. It reflects what has been a deeply worrying behaviour among some people and is in direct contrast to the wonderful community service that has been provided across Ranelagh during the pandemic, particularly by Ranelagh Community Response.”
Cllr Daniel Céitinn said there were similar problems in surrounding areas. “I’m hearing all the time about anti-social behaviour around Portobello and Charlemount. Any public space is being abused. I have heard about young families having to move out because they don’t feel safe in the area.”
Anyone with information pertaining to the incident should contact Malahide Garda station at 01-666 4600.