Down these mean streets two-thirds of Dubliners feel reluctant to go

by Rachel Darcy

A recent poll conducted by Dublin Gazette has found that an astonishing 66% of people feel that Dublin city centre has become a ‘no-go’ area.

The poll was conducted in the wake of a horrific incident on Westmoreland Street, which saw a number of delivery drivers attacked by a gang of youths in front of terrified on-lookers.

A protest was held last Saturday to raise awareness of the thuggery faced by delivery drivers on Dublin’s streets.

This incident is the latest in a long line of aggressive acts that have occurred in the city centre in recent months, leading to repeated calls for an increased Garda presence on the streets.

Many Dubliners have also called for a Rapid Response unit, with claims it took almost 20 minutes for gardai to arrive on the scene at Westmoreland Street – despite Pearse Street Garda Station being just a 30-second walk away from the crime.

In response to queries from Dublin Gazette, An Garda Siochana have said they believe the level of policing on our city centre’s streets to be at an adequate level.

A spokesperson said: “Local Garda management closely monitors the allocation of all resources in the context of crime trends, policing needs and other operational strategies in place on a District, Divisional and Regional level, to ensure optimum use is made of resources, and the best possible service provided to the public.

“Senior Garda management is satisfied that an adequate policing service continues to be delivered, and that current structures in place meet the requirement to deliver an effective and efficient policing service to the community.

“This situation is continually reviewed.”

Further incidents of untoward behaviour have also been reported within inner-city suburbs, including Drimnagh and Ringsend, with locals claiming on social media that they fear the ‘thugs’ roaming the streets.

Drimnagh resident Cllr Daithi Doolan (SF), has been petitioning Dublin City Council to set up a taskforce in the area with the aim of tackling anti-social behaviour and a developing gang mentality in the area.

Cllr Doolan said: “Here in Drimnagh, we have seen an upsurge in anti-social behaviour since summer 2018.

“We have to work together to ensure Dublin is a welcoming, safe city to live, work, study and holiday in.

“Unfortunately, many of our communities have seen an increase in serious anti-social behaviour in recent months. It is essential that we tackle the causes and consequences of anti-social behaviour.

“But probation services, Gardai, youth services have all seen their budgets slashed. This has had a hugely negative effect.

“It is unacceptable to expect services to tackle a growing problem with less resources. These cuts must be reversed.

“No one group can sort this out. In fact, we also have to engage with the young people involved. Ignoring their needs will only make the problem worse,” said Cllr Doolan.

CSO figures show anti-social behaviour on the up

According to the Central Statistics Office, public order offences – or ‘anti-social behaviour’ – is on the rise, backing up the concerns of many citizens about such incidents.

In the last quarter of 2017, there were more than over 31,188 cases of Public Order and other Social Code offences across Ireland – a 6.7% increase.

This increase continued throughout 2018. In each quarter of 2018, Public Order offences were on the up.

In the first quarter of 2018, more than 31,000 cases were reported, with this increasing again in the second quarter to more than 31,300 cases.

There was also a further 2.5% increase on anti-social behaviour reported by the CSO up to September 2018 – an additional 760 cases were reported, compared to the same quarter in 2017.

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