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  • Senator Sharon Keogan

Senator Sharon Keogan - Crime and the Gardaí

I spoke before the summer recess about this matter, on July 13th at Order of Business — it comes forward as a commencement matter at a time where I feel we’re about to have a much wider discussion as to the need for increased garda presence in our communities.

The widely shared horrific scenes of gangs of joyriding thugs in a housing estate in Ballyfermot’s Cherry Orchard have shocked many — but for many others, it’s an all too familiar sight, and shock has long since given way to resignation.

Ordinary, law-abiding citizens in certain parts of this country are terrorized day in, day out, by lowlife criminal hooligans who have no respect for their communities, the people in them, or the law.

It would seem that there are some areas which have been declared unofficial “no go zones” even by An Garda Siochana — faced with the challenges of policing these areas, the decision has been made not to police them at all, or barely.

But the role of the guards as “guardians of the peace” should not be limited by postcode, and every effort must be made by the government to ensure that the force is adequately manned, trained and equipped to carry out this role.

Every street of the capital would be made a lot safer if there were a pair of Gardaí marching down it every 30 or 45 minutes — certain streets don’t need this, others probably need more.

But if we had as many patrols out cracking down on violent crime as we did rounding up non-covid compliant persons, this would be a much safer country for it.

This summer, the residents of Laytown were subjected to a vicious brawl which saw golf clubs and baseball bats being used as weapons. That came less than a month after a mass protest had been held in Bettystown over the lack of Garda resources in what is one of the country's busiest coastal areas.

Laytown garda station isn’t even close to being manned fulltime, and most of the area is actually served by the station at Ashbourne, a full 33 kilometres away. If that station is busy, an emergency call can be taken by the Garda station in Kildare town, almost 100 kilometres away.

This is absolutely unacceptable in a developed country like Ireland, and it’s a kick in the face to the people of the area who deserve a minimum standard of policing.

So either we need a brand new 24/7 Garda station in the area, or the Minister needs to speak to the Garda Commissioner and ensure that Laytown garda station is transformed into a 24 hour, active service.

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