Anti-Social Behaviour: Motion (Resumed).

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 649 No. 2

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The following motion was moved by Deputy Charles Flanagan on Tuesday, 4 March 2008:

the ongoing deterioration of law and order under successive Fianna Fáil led Governments, particularly:

the consequent fear and anxiety that the Government’s failure to tackle effectively such developments are causing within society; and

calls on the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform to:

Amendment No. 1 was moved by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform:

expresses its abhorrence of all unlawful killings and the callous disregard for human life shown by such killings and expresses its sympathy to the families of all who have had loved ones killed in this way;

in particular deplores the brutal killing of Pawel Kalite and Mariusz Szwajkos and expresses its condolences to their families and friends, the Polish community in Ireland and the people of Poland;

condemns anti-social behaviour no matter by whom perpetrated and its effects on communities and particularly on the most vulnerable;

welcomes the policing priorities determined by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform for 2008, as provided for in the Garda Síochána Act 2005, and the Garda policing plan for 2008 which is based on these priorities;

welcomes in particular the initiatives to target the use of knives and similar offensive weapons for violent attacks;

notes that, while heavy penalties already exist for offences involving weapons, the Garda Commissioner is finalising a review of the law in this area;

welcomes the priority being given by the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform to examining key aspects of the law regarding the sale and consumption of alcohol and [433]his determination to tackle the public order aspects of such sale and consumption, including, as necessary, through the introduction of legislative proposals;

notes that the Garda policing plan for 2008 includes actions to proactively target groups and individuals involved in anti-social behaviour and identify and target local public order and anti-social behaviour hot spots;

endorses continuing implementation of the national drugs strategy and notes that a new strategy is in the course of preparation;

welcomes the continuing success of targeted Garda operations, including Operation Anvil;

notes the unprecedented level of resources made available to An Garda Síochána by the Government, totalling €1.616 billion in 2008, compared to just over €0.9 billion five years ago;

acknowledges the commitment in the programme for Government to increases in Garda strength, including a strength of 15,000 with a target date of 2010;

notes the far-reaching changes in criminal law introduced by the Government and enacted by the Oireachtas, including the Criminal Justice Acts 2006 and 2007;

acknowledges the efforts of the Government to bring about a more effective youth justice system, particularly through full commencement of the Children Act 2001 and the establishment of the Irish youth justice service;

notes the additional resources being provided to other agencies of the criminal justice system, including the Irish Prison Service;

looks forward to the roll-out to all local authority areas of joint policing committees in the course of this year; and

supports the work of An Garda Síochána and other agencies of the criminal justice system in dealing with those who threaten the rights of the community by their criminal and anti-social activities.

Debate resumed on amendment No. 1 to amendment No. 1:

Deputy Pat Rabbitte: Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Anti-social behaviour is a major issue that ought to attract more attention in this House than it does. I regret that we only seem to focus on it following the kind of horrific event that occurred recently in Drimnagh. Anti-social behaviour is a malaise in our society, which mainly afflicts communities in the lower socioeconomic area. Some of the worst affected neighbourhoods attract little attention from this House because the voter turnout is low. Many residents feel alienated from society and these law-abiding citizens bear the brunt of anti-social behaviour in such estates. The effect is debilitating and corrosive, and undermines the quality of life. People trapped in these areas have concluded that nobody in authority cares. It is certainly true that most people in authority do not understand the phenomenon of anti-social behaviour, which is a modern-day sickness.

  7 o’clock

The problem is not confined to Dublin as it is to be found in every urban area. Taking this city, however, the two Dublins rarely interact. They do not work or play together and, as a result, the policy makers do not focus on the problem and do not understand it. One can see that from the traditional solutions that are trotted out. I do not have any argument with most of the provisions in the Minister’s amendment. It is all very well to trot out statistics on the millions being spent and the progress being made, but it is not addressing the root cause of this malaise that is now so endemic in our society. The people affected feel trapped and alienated. They feel there is nowhere to turn.

It seems to me that the anti-social behaviour is spreading into more settled neighbourhoods. The phenomenon of youths congregating, loitering with intent and intimidating local people is routine in parts of urban Ireland. Recent events demonstrate the outcome of anti-social behaviour at its most extreme. The casual and brutal murder of two young Polish men ought to horrify all right-thinking people. The impact of anti-social behaviour is rarely so extreme as we saw recently in Drimnagh. It is regrettable that it takes a case of this gravity, involving an act of such horrific brutality, to get the attention of those in positions of authority. The more routine acts of everyday anti-social behaviour that torture the communities affected, rarely come to public attention. They include the harassment and persecution of vulnerable people, damage to property, intimidation of old people, so-called joy riding and destruction of the local environment. These are everyday experiences in certain urban areas.

Every week I deal routinely with people who are at their wit’s end because of anti-social behaviour. Their lives are made a misery by a small number of out-of-control youths. I know of people who have been driven out of their homes or whose cars have been repeatedly damaged by anti-social behaviour. Some people’s homes have been broken into for no purpose other than to damage their belongings. I know people who are fearful for their personal safety while walking to or from the bus-stop after dark. I know parents whose children have been beaten up because they are different.

[435]People despair when they hear the Minister say, as he told me yesterday, that “the gardaí are exceptionally visible on the ground”. Nothing could be further from the truth and it is dispiriting that the Minister could allow himself to trot out such cavalier assertions. I accept it is not possible to post a garda at every crossroads. No Minister could do that but the fact is that the very areas that most require Garda patrols are those where it is most difficult to find a member of the Garda Síochána.

Community policing is a cosmetic façade as far as the Minister and the Department are concerned. I regret that also seems to be the conclusion of the most senior gardaí. They do not believe in it and have no philosophical conviction behind it. On Question Time yesterday, the Minister said that every garda is a community garda interacting with the community. It is a semantical argument, however, because that is not community policing. Community policing is where gardaí are policing people they know in estates they are familiar with. Community policing is where there is a visible Garda presence that knows the miscreants, has local intelligence, interacts with community leaders and is involved in community organisations. That is the definition of community policing, yet there is no commitment at any senior level to providing it. Without that sort of policing we will have gangs of youths who are out of control, making the local off-licence their focal point and intimidating innocent passers-by.

I do not want to comment on any particular case, but if we have reached the stage where teenagers wantonly attack innocent passers-by to inflict serious injury or death then we have a deep sickness in this society. That malaise is spreading and it will not be addressed by traditional means. In his amendment the Minister faithfully trots out all the traditional responses. I do not take issue with most of them but the point is that they are not working. The Minister can talk about additional resources and the fact that we do not need any more laws. If that is the case, then it is a matter of enforcement. It is a matter of putting more resources into the Garda diversion projects, which have been almost an unmitigated success. It is a question of making a serious commitment to community policing and seeking to deal with the misuse of drugs, the abuse of alcohol and the school drop-out rates in some areas.

Above all, however, people are entitled to protection. These are people who are singled out for persecution and targeted for harassment in their own communities purely because they are different, vulnerable or somehow exposed. I instanced the case some time ago in this House of the night worker whose house is regularly broken into after he leaves for work. The perpetrators know his movements and do unmentionable things in his house. If he stays home to protect his property, his job is at risk. The ultimate solution may be that he must leave the area. That is happening typically in many urban areas. I am glad Fine Gael has put forward this motion. I sincerely hope the present Minister takes this issue more seriously than it has been taken until now.

Deputy Timmy Dooley: Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  I propose to share time with Deputies O’Connor, Conlon, Nolan, Thomas Byrne and Cuffe.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Brian O’Shea): Information on Brian O'Shea  Zoom on Brian O'Shea  That is agreed.

Deputy Timmy Dooley: Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  I thank Fine Gael for putting forward this motion and I welcome the opportunity to contribute to the debate. I am somewhat disappointed by the partisan approach being taken although that is perhaps only natural. To apportion blame to the Government for the ills of society with reference to this particular issue is short-sighted. We must look at society in general.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Blame the people.

[436]Deputy Timmy Dooley: Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  As Deputy Rabbitte said, it is clearly a cultural and societal issue.

Perhaps I too am being partisan in saying I am not overly impressed with the Fine Gael proposal that the solution is to demand a comprehensive review of the availability of knives and offensive weapons and to look to a Garda campaign to tackle the proliferation of same throughout the State. With respect, there is something bankrupt about this as a policy. It conjures up notions of gardaí sifting through cutlery drawers, dishwashers and tool boxes to find offensive weapons. I take Fine Gael’s point that this is not the intention but in terms of putting forward a solution, which we are all required to do——

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Deputy Dooley is not taking our point, he is belittling it.

Deputy Timmy Dooley: Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  That is what the motion proposes. However, the only feasible approach is to work together to find a solution to this.

We must take our focus away from the implements themselves because practically anything can be turned into an offensive weapon. Deputy Rabbitte went through a list of crimes perpetrated against people in his constituency and elsewhere. Each of us could do the same and could, moreover, identify various items used to inflict puncture wounds, whether a broken bottle or glass, a screwdriver or another domestic implement. Almost anything can be used in an offensive way. I am sure most Members agree that we must focus on the mindset that utilises the weapon rather than trying to look at ways of taking the weapon out of the equation. Ultimately, one will never be able to remove the types of weapons used on a daily basis to cause death and mayhem in such a careless and callous way. Instead, we must seek to understand what creates the intent to take life in this manner.

We must examine why there has been such a change in our culture. To some extent, we are witnessing the ills of the Celtic tiger, which include a growth in individualism, greater self-promotion, disregard for authority and increased disposable incomes allowing for greater access to drugs and alcohol. Any analysis of this problem will show that the combination of drugs and alcohol is creating far more aggressive behaviour, which leads to this lack of respect for basic dignity or even the right to life. There were always fights and fracas in school yards. Any contest between two local villages, regardless of the sport in question, always offered an opportunity for young men to vent their anger and frustration. This manifested itself in rows and battles and there was a degree of regard for the fellow who could take his beating and move on, biding his time until the next opportunity.

Now, however, there seems to be a desire to return home to get a knife and attack the other person before he has made his way home. This is where there has been a significant change in culture. Despite the undeniable implication of drugs and alcohol in such crimes, some of the violence is taking place in daylight when no alcohol or drugs have been taken. We must examine why the culture has changed and how we will find a way around it. That will necessitate the involvement of the education system. The amendment sets out a range of issues that are being dealt with by the Government. These are welcome but they do not provide the complete answer.

We must consider some of the television programmes and computer games that are contributing to such violent outbursts, often times in weak men and children, people who would not heretofore have had an opportunity to stand their ground in a battle. They are introduced at an early stage to a culture where offensive weapons are suggested as the way to settle old scores.

Deputy Charlie O’Connor: Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this important debate. I thank Deputy Charles Flanagan for affording us this opportunity and compliment him on his work in this area. I speak as a child of Crumlin, which is a sister community of Drimnagh. I do [437]not get as many opportunities to speak on radio as some of my colleagues, but some weeks ago I was interviewed on radio and spoke about the unfair reputation assigned to communities such as Crumlin and Drimnagh. In the wake of all the controversy about gangland activity, I singled out Drimnagh and observed that it was unfair to tarnish whole communities. I stand over my statement that in all these communities, including those in our constituency to which Deputy Rabbitte made reference, the majority of people are decent and law-abiding. It is unfair that they are bracketed in the way they are. It is important that this should be said in light of recent events.

Like other Members, I was horrified at what happened on Benbulbin Road two weeks ago. It was absolutely horrific and I deeply sympathise not only with the families concerned but with the community generally. I was upset when I heard the statement by the Polish association that there may have been a racist motive. That is even more regrettable and will upset people even more. It will be interesting to see how that situation develops.

Deputy Rabbitte and I will not disagree on this issue because we live and work in a community that has had its difficulties in this regard and where there have been challenges in terms of anti-social behaviour. I am never afraid to condemn those who engage in such behaviour. I often observe that I come from a bygone Dublin era where, as we played football on the street, we knew precisely what time the local garda would pass on his bicycle. There should be a return to such visible policing. I will not disagree with the Minister other than to say that all communities want to see local gardaí on the beat. This is not just about what happened in Drimnagh in recent weeks. Local people like to see friendly faces. If a garda does a good job in a community, he or she is more likely to be promoted and therefore lost to that community. I do not suggest that good gardaí should not be promoted because it is fair enough that they are promoted. Garda headquarters and the Minister should be promoting an ethos whereby the men and women of the Garda walk the streets of our communities and are visible to young people. Young people should not just see gardaí when they are in trouble.

I was glad the Minister made a distinction between what is going on and the need for facilities. While none of us will ever excuse public disorder — I will certainly never do so — the Minister and the Government need to understand that communities need additional facilities and other forms of assistance. Deputy Rabbitte has spoken about the Garda diversion projects, which are strongly supported in Tallaght. Resources should continue to be made available to projects like those in Brookfield, Tymon North and west Tallaght. I hope the Minister will do that. He should understand that there is a great deal of cross-party concern about this issue. I wish him well as he tackles it.

Deputy Margaret Conlon: Information on Margaret Conlon  Zoom on Margaret Conlon  I am delighted to have an opportunity to address the House on this issue. I extend my deepest sympathy to the families and friends of the two lads who were brutally murdered in Drimnagh. It is abhorrent that such attacks, which reflect awfully on all of us, can take place in the Ireland of 2008. I condemn this brutal killing. Such crimes highlight major flaws in society, which appears to have broken down in a serious way. Parental responsibility is a fundamental issue that seems to have been forgotten in this debate. It is alleged that this crime was committed by minors. If people under the age of 18 are not at home, I respectfully suggest that their parents should know where they are, who they are with and what they are doing. Parenting is the only job I know of for which one is given little or no training. Perhaps it is time to consider giving parents the skills they need to cope with difficulties like challenging behaviour as their children progress into adolescence. We could talk all evening about legislating for this and for that, but legislation curbing the availability of weapons will have no impact on cases such as the murder that inspired this debate, in which a screwdriver was used. Many household implements can be used to inflict injury or death.

[438]It is regrettable that certain people now have a cavalier attitude to life. At a time when minor disputes are being solved with stabbings and shootings, what type of society are we allowing to develop? Goggle-eyed children are used to films, shows and computer games which suggest that one can hurt, harm and kill to any extent before one switches one’s PlayStation off. When one switches it back on the following day, one’s opponents are back on their feet without a mark on them. It is no wonder that children who are exposed to such activities each day do not put a price on life. When I was young, my family attended religious services every weekend, at which we were taught right from wrong. That does not happen any more in some communities, sadly. Many families continue to attend religious services, at which respect for human beings, authorities and society is instilled in young people, but for some people, there is a loss of respect for, and belief in, the church. They disregard the vital role the church played and continues to play in our society. Our societal structure is totally unrecognisable from that of 15 or 20 years ago. Many young gang members consider shopping centres, off-licences, gaming arcades and similar venues to be the cathedrals of the 21st century. Such vacuous, hollow and weak influences are shoddy foundations for our young people.

While I recognise that the building blocks in the lives of our young people must be put in place by the State, to a certain extent, I believe that the role of parents is far more important. We cannot overlook some parents’ abdication of their responsibilities and the dwindling effect of the church when we assess how to tackle this problem in the medium and long terms. In the short term, we must recognise that the Government is committed to providing the necessary personnel and equipment to the Garda Síochána to enable it to deal with these difficulties. A budget of €1.6 billion — an unprecedented level of investment — has been approved for the force this year. The community-based CCTV scheme is designed to provide financial assistance to local organisations which are trying to meet the capital costs associated with establishing local CCTV systems. Such a system has been approved in Monaghan. These systems represent a practical way of giving communities greater peace of mind as they attempt to tackle anti-social behaviour. They are a strong tool in the fight against crime. I urge the Minister to expand the national CCTV scheme.

I welcome the establishment of a joint policing committee in Cavan, involving all the major stakeholders who will work together to ensure that communities remain safe places. I am aware that authorisation of a similar committee in Monaghan is awaited. I ask the Minister to expedite that process so the committee can be established. Young people under the age of 18 who commit so-called “adult crimes” seem to be in a type of limbo because they are not punished for the crimes they commit. We must be tough on crime and the causes on crime. We should not be afraid to use the term “punishment”. We should and must punish the young thugs who intimidate, scare and assault people but are allowed to get away with such cowardly acts because of their age. I hope the perpetrators of the heinous crime in Drimnagh can be brought to justice in a swift and speedy manner. That is needed if we are to ensure that no other family endures the pain and suffering experienced by the families of those whose loved ones were killed while visiting this country.

Deputy M. J. Nolan: Information on M. J. Nolan  Zoom on M. J. Nolan  I join other Members of the House in outlining my abhorrence at the recent double murder in Drimnagh, which was especially shameful because the two individuals who were killed were not Irish. This is an appropriate time for the House to be discussing anti-social behaviour. The number of complaints I receive from the public about such behaviour has increased significantly over the past six months, particularly since Christmas. While some of the behaviour in question is taking place in local authority estates, it is not confined to such areas. It is now common in every housing estate and street in every town. One of the most [439]sinister aspects of anti-social behaviour is that those who are involved in it, who are mainly young men, tend to target the most vulnerable people in our society, such as old people and single girls who are living with young children. There was a time when such things happened only around Hallowe’en when, for example, crackers were put in the letterboxes of old people and other vulnerable householders. Such incidents are now reported every week of the year. Anti-social behaviour does not just happen at weekends — it is going on all the time.

While I accept that communities have some responsibilities, I want to focus on the role of the parents of the youths who are involved in sinister criminality of this nature. We cannot simply lay the blame at the door of the Garda Síochána or the local authorities. We must point the finger of blame at those who are raising these young people and do not know what they are up to at any given time. We are sometimes asked to move families out of local authority houses when there is a significant increase in anti-social behaviour in the area. Moving one family out and putting another family in does not solve the problem, however, as the new family has to contend with the same difficulties. Cars are damaged and their windows broken, particularly late at night when estates are relatively quiet. It is not acceptable, in this day and age, that some people are afraid to walk around estates at night for fear of being attacked and abused.

The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform is required under the Garda Síochána Acts to set out his policing priorities for each year. I am glad he has identified the need to tackle anti-social behaviour as one of his 2008 priorities. There has been an increase in Garda activity throughout most of our towns. Although some may think it a little bit of a laugh to see gardaí going around on bicycles, I know places where community policing is being practised by gardaí— there are foot patrols and gardaí on bikes — and it has reduced the incidence of anti-social behaviour. I would like to see that expanded.

We have a responsibility to protect our old and most vulnerable people, whether it is with a combination of more Garda resources or more power for our local authorities. More importantly, we must empower our communities in tackling this problem. I would like to see that happen.

Deputy Thomas Byrne: Information on Thomas Byrne  Zoom on Thomas Byrne  I convey our deepest sympathies and regrets to the families and friends of Pawel Kalite and Mariusz Szwajkos. Any event such as their murder is tragic but it is particularly hard for people in view of the very good relationship Irish people have in general with Poles, both within this country and with the nation of Poland. It is terrible.

The old adage of Franklin Roosevelt that “we have nothing to fear but fear itself” also holds sway in this debate. There is a danger we will become afraid and this fear will be engendered. There may not always be a proper reason for it, although the fear is justifiable in the case I have mentioned.

In general, there is no question that there is much good news on the justice and Garda front. We have a record number of gardaí in the country, which is an unquestionable achievement. Closed circuit television systems are being rolled out and it is about to be introduced to Drogheda very shortly, as the planning notices are up. That is a very positive step and we would like to see much more of it. I know the Minister is committed to it.

Joint policing committees will become more streamlined, particularly the committee in my county of Meath when it is up and running, with the changing of the divisional boundaries. That is a positive step, particularly in the commuter belt. Garda youth diversion projects were mentioned by Deputy O’Connor, who also stated that gardaí are moved on when they do a good job. I know a sergeant working in such a project and his main complaint was that people doing very well in that job were moved to other areas, causing the project to slip back a bit. [440] That is a problem of success. In addition, I expect the advisory group on alcohol to make some fairly stringent recommendations. There is much good news on the justice front.

As the Minister knows, in my constituency we have serious issues relating to the numbers of gardaí assigned to the area. Only today the Minister met some residents from the area of Stamullen. I received a letter from Duleek community alert group today as well, which is very concerned about the lack of gardaí in the area.

We are speaking about community policing and in these areas within my constituency, we generally have very effective sergeants with a small complement of gardaí. The fact that the sergeants in Duleek, Laytown, Slane and Nobber are very well known in the community is a significant advantage. These are genuine community police officers but they are stymied in the work they want to do in the communities by lack of numbers.

In the area of Laytown, Bettystown and Mornington, the population is 8,978 and the Garda station covers a population of 18,916. However, there are only 13 gardaí in the station. Stamullen has a population of 2,487 and has no gardaí. As the Minister knows this is a difficult issue and although the Garda has made efforts recently, the people will only have full confidence when the commuter belt gets an appropriate number of gardaí. I know the Minister has done much work on the matter and has spoken to senior Garda officers on it.

There are many positive aspects to the issue. We cannot be led by fear all the time and we must move forward to get the existing policies right. The Dáil’s condemnation tonight of what has happened recently sends out a very strong message and we are united in indicating we do not put up with such actions. We welcome Poles to this country and thank them for their contribution to society.

Deputy Ciarán Cuffe: Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  I welcome the more reflective interest in crime coming from Fine Gael in this session. There was a time when Fine Gael obsessed over drunk tanks and boot camps and I am glad to see a maturity entering into the debate from the Fine Gael benches.

It is clearly a sad but timely occasion on which to discuss crime and some good ideas have emerged in this debate. Crime does not happen in splendid isolation to other events in society and the events of recent days remind us of two issues. These are the need to look at the cycle of socio-economic isolation that can occur in lower income areas and the requirement to consider urgently the provision of integration for new communities in Ireland.

I read this afternoon an excellent report by the Migrant Rights Centre Ireland published only six months ago entitled Realising Integration: Migrant Workers Undertaking Essential Low Paid Work in Dublin City. I remind the House that migrants comprise approximately 10% of the population and between 10% and 11% of the workforce. Many migrants are here to stay and we must have more positive measures in place to assist integration. Many of these workers are living on the margins and are very vulnerable to social exclusion. They are in danger of becoming a subdivision of the labour force and much of their time and effort is spent simply trying to survive. A fifth of migrants only have time for work and three quarters of migrants do not mix or socialise with Irish people outside work. Two thirds of migrants live in houses and apartment blocks where no Irish people live. All these statistics reinforce the need to put in place strong integration measures. It is easy to hope that workers, particularly from Catholic countries, are integrating in a church at the weekend but the reality is that so many migrants simply do not have the time to go to church or find some other way to integrate with Irish people.

We must consider the cycle of socio-economic isolation in lower income areas, particularly for parts of Dublin where there are high rates of unemployment and there is still a significant [441]need for the State to invest. This involves more than just community policing. The State should invest in education by providing more assistance to problem pupils and it must provide more recreational facilities.

In a city like Berlin, there seems to be an indoor heated swimming pool within five minutes of where everybody lives. We need these kinds of facilities in the heart of working class communities. We need proper planning and we should look again at the trend towards gated communities, where so many migrant workers live. We should consider opening those gates and having new developments more closely integrated physically with the existing communities. If we build strong gates, we do not have the possibility of better integration of new groups in our society.

It would be easy to blame the fall in church attendance or the rise of video games and other new media for the ills of society but we should not excuse this House of its responsibilities in tackling these two issues. We need a more concerted approach from the Garda in addressing the matter but that is only the tip of the iceberg. Crime is part of the many other issues that need to be tackled in society, such as sports facilities, education, proper housing and better planning.

It is only when we tackle all these issues together that we can provide a meaningful approach to particular types of crime that society currently focuses on. Violent crime has always been part of Irish society but there is greater coverage in the media of the brutal and violent incidents that have occurred in recent years. The appalling deaths we have seen over the past week really show us that more action is required. However, rather than a knee-jerk reaction of shoving more gardaí on the street or having more restrictive measures, we need to look at those other factors. Only then will we be able truly to tackle the ills of society. It is about integration and assisting lower income communities.

Deputy Terence Flanagan: Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  I wish to share time with Deputies Ring, Reilly, Barrett, Doyle and Kehoe.

Acting Chairman: Information on Brian O'Shea  Zoom on Brian O'Shea  Is that agreed? Agreed.

Deputy Terence Flanagan: Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  I thank my colleague, Deputy Charles Flanagan, for bringing this very important motion before the House. I welcome the opportunity to contribute to this debate on the ongoing deterioration of law and order under successive Fianna Fáil-led Governments. What the Government needs to do urgently is to increase the number of gardaí on our streets by at least 2,000. We need more gardaí on the beat and the necessary reforms to our justice legislation if we are to get a grip on crime. For too long criminals have been sticking up two fingers at the justice system and the gardaí. They are running riot in this city and are afraid of no one. Gun crime and organised crime are certainly out of control.

The stabbing to death last week of two Polish men with a screwdriver is very serious and the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform needs to act to ensure this never happens again. I take this opportunity to sympathise with the families of the victims and the local community on this terrible tragedy. My party is calling for a six-month targeted operation by the Garda Síochána to take out of circulation all knives, swords and other offensive weapons.

The shooting of Garda Paul Sherlock last year shows how low organised gangs operating in this city will stoop. We need our gardaí to put these gangs out of business and make our streets safe again. After all one crime is one crime too many.

We have a major issue with illicit drugs, particularly the use of cocaine in society. Not too long ago a major shipment was retrieved off the south coast but how many shipments come through our country on a daily or weekly basis undetected?

[442]We have much to learn from the likes of New York and other cities, particularly in terms of their attitude to zero tolerance and crime. New York city has dealt effectively with gun crime and knife crime and we need to learn from its experience.

To tackle crime, we need a more visible Garda presence on our streets and a larger Garda force. We need our force to be properly equipped. It is not good enough that gardaí must use their own mobile telephones or their own cars while on duty. The Government has a responsibility to gardaí to provide them with the necessary tools in order that they can do their job properly.

We need more CCTV cameras on our streets. CCTV is certainly a major deterrent in fighting crime and anti-social behaviour and more CCTV is particularly needed in black spots. In my constituency of Dublin North-East, I welcome the fact there are now two shifts of community gardaí with six new gardaí for Coolock station patrolling the Donaghmede area. These extra gardaí have certainly been of great benefit to my area and provide more cover for existing gardaí. However, more community gardaí and patrols are certainly needed in parts of my constituency, particularly with the increase in the population and the expected increase of 40,000 more people over the next eight years.

There are parts of my constituency which are black spots for anti-social behaviour and where there is a strong prevalence of drug and alcohol abuse. These areas should receive the most funding. In Kilbarrack, a voluntary youth body is looking for a youth cafe which I support. Youngsters should be encouraged to use their time more positively spending it surfing the Internet or playing pool in a warm encouraging environment rather than walking the streets. More work needs to be done educating our young people about the dangers of drink and drug addiction.

Alcohol and drug abuse cost the Exchequer billions of euro each year. Our accident and emergency departments are clogged up with drunks, especially at weekends. We need to change our attitude to alcohol and its link to crime.

Mandatory sentences should be enforced by judges, particularly in the areas of knife and gun crime. All criminals should be made to make a contribution to society for the sins they have committed. I hope the Minister will take these points on board and help make our streets safe again.

Deputy Michael Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  I sympathise with the Polish families but I also sympathise with the 84 families of murder victims last year. Some 84 people were murdered last year, which is a disgrace. This Government has been in office for ten years and all we hear from it are more announcements and public relations by its programme managers and officials.

When will the home protection Bill be introduced? I am glad the Minister is here because I want him to listen to me. There are people who went to bed this evening when it started to get dark and they will not get up until tomorrow morning when it is bright. They will pray through the night that they will not be attacked by some thug filled with drugs and drink. If the thug is caught, people will say the poor fellow was on drugs. The time has come for people in their homes to use whatever force is necessary. To hell with the do-gooders. If somebody comes into one’s home, one should be able to use whatever force is necessary and not what the law states, that is, “reasonable force”. If a thug comes into one’s house at 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., he is not coming in for tea. If one or any of one’s family gets in his way, he will use whatever amount of violence he chooses. I want to see this Bill introduced in the House before the year is out so people who must protect themselves or their families will not find themselves in court [443]where the free legal aid system will work against them because the State will pay for the criminal to bring them to court.

It is time we brought justice back to the people. If people need to protect their homes or families, the law should protect them and not always the criminal. If someone goes out tonight, kills somebody and appears before the court tomorrow morning, the judge will say he or she must be assessed. Who pays for that? He or she will then get the top lawyer in the country through the free legal aid system. Who pays for that? It pays to commit crime in this country. If people have to defend their homes, they will have to put their home, their family and everything they have ever worked for on the line to go to the court to fight their case. It is time the law was brought back to the people.

We all talk about anti-social behaviour. Last Monday someone came into my clinic who went to court and gave evidence in a case about anti-social behaviour. That anti-social behaviour is still going on because the local authority did not have the guts to deal with the problem. The local authority told the people living in the estate that if they came forward and if a prosecution was secured, it would deal with the problem. It did not do so and now 19 families in one housing estate have left because of one problem with anti-social behaviour which the State did not deal with it.

As is the case in England, it is time for people in this country to get life if they commit murder. If somebody is caught with drugs, he or she should get a mandatory sentence of ten years. If someone wants to dabble with drugs and destroy young people’s lives, he or she must know he or she will spend ten years behind bars and not enter one door and exist through another.

Acting Chairman: Information on Brian O'Shea  Zoom on Brian O'Shea  The Deputy has one minute remaining.

Deputy Michael Ring: Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  That is a pity because I have much more to say. We will have to come back to it on another day.

The home protection Bill is vital. If the Minister listened to Gerry Ryan’s radio programme last week and to Joe Duffy’s show, he would have heard about elderly people beaten up in their homes and about people who have worked and served this State who cannot leave their homes. It is sad that people are afraid in their own homes. It shows the type of society we have. The law must be brought back to the people and the gardaí must be put on the street and given powers.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  I thank my colleague, Deputy Charles Flanagan, for raising this timely issue. It is time to get tough on criminality and anti-social behaviour. We have reached a crisis point in respect of law and order. The figures suggest that the reporting of crime is down. However, this does not mean that crime levels have fallen. The figures to which I refer do not take account of the fact that many people have given up reporting crime. At a meeting in Lusk last night, several people stated that they had reported incidents to the Garda and waited to be contacted. However, the latter never happened. I do not intend to criticise the Garda, per se, because its resources are stretched. However, I wish to discover whether these requests for assistance are noted or recorded. Is it the case that because they are not pursued, they are never recorded and hence do not appear in the figures?

There are part-time Garda stations in the Dublin North constituency at Lusk, Skerries and Rush. There is no station in Donabate. The population of these four villages is 40,000, which is the same as that of the city of Waterford. How are individuals expected to feel safe when there are only three part-time stations for the entire area? People are extremely concerned.

[444]Deputy Ring referred to the right of people to defend themselves and their families in their own homes. Like other people, I would not be prepared to stand idly if my family was in danger in our home.

Deputy Brian Lenihan: Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  The courts fully acknowledge that one has a right to defend oneself.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  What about people such as Padraig Nally and others who were tormented?

Deputy Brian Lenihan: Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  One is not obliged to retreat within one’s own home.

Acting Chairman: Information on Brian O'Shea  Zoom on Brian O'Shea  Deputy Reilly, without interruption.

Deputy James Reilly: Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  I am not suggesting that what happened in these cases is right but it is a reflection of the frustration and vulnerability that people, particularly those who live in isolated areas, feel. There was a rash of crimes of this nature 20 years ago. They stopped when an elderly farmer fired a shotgun out of an upstairs window. We do not want to see such situations arise again. We want community policing. Unreported crimes are skewing the picture and providing figures that are artificially low.

The next issue to which I wish to refer is prevention, to which there are a few aspects. Prevention must be considered in the context of the social services and outlets we provide for young people. Some of the other aspects that arise in this context are the availability of drugs, particularly among members of the middle class; the toleration of such drugs by the Government; the availability of alcohol to under age drinkers; and the disastrous combination of drugs and alcohol and the effect it can have on people’s behaviour.

We need to use the education system to reinforce socially acceptable behaviour. There is also the issue of parental responsibility. Parents should know the whereabouts of their 14, 15 and 16 year olds between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Lack of parental supervision lies at the heart of a great deal of anti-social behaviour. I refer, in particular, to that perpetrated by large gangs of young people engaged in illegal drinking on large open spaces in our cities, towns and villages.

Another aspect of prevention is the need to have policemen on the beat. In that context, I refer to community gardaí who know everybody, whom everybody knows and, more important, who know everyone’s parents. I am talking about the sort of gardaí to whom people used to go when they were in trouble. Such officers were not perceived as a threat, people saw them as friends.

The level of resources in place in respect of crime detection is insufficient. Recent statistics illustrate that the incidence of serious crimes such as homicide, rape and armed robbery has risen but that the detection rates relating to them has fallen. The Minister needs to address this issue. He should not do what the HSE and the Ministers for Health and Children and Education and Science do, namely, try to state that all is well when that is clearly not the case. We should be mature and tackle the issue head on.

On rehabilitation, the custodial care system must afford to people more opportunities to change and to be educated or re-educated. There are other areas in respect of which I wish to comment but I do not have time to do so. However, I wish to offer my deepest sympathies to the families of Pawel Kalite and Marius Szwajkos. We owe it to their memory and to their families to ensure that their deaths, in much the same way that Veronica Guerin’s did, act as a watershed. We must put in place systems that will reduce the likelihood of crimes of this nature occurring in the future.

[445]I commend the motion to the House.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  I thank Deputy Flanagan for introducing this important motion. It is appropriate that we are discussing this matter, particularly when one considers what happened at the weekend. Crimes such as shootings and killings are regular occurrences. When I was a teenager, the stabbing or shooting of a person was major news on every radio station and in every newspaper. That is no longer the case. In some instances, such incidents are a daily occurrence. In others, they happen on a weekly basis. I accept that the Minister inherited his portolio. However, I ask that he take action in respect of the number of killings taking place and the anti-social behaviour in which people are engaging.

I have strong views on the sale of alcohol, a matter in respect of which the Minister commented on either Newstalk 106 or RTE Radio 1 on Friday evening last. I welcome the fact that he has put in place an expert group to examine the issue of the sale of alcohol. Serious action must be taken in respect of this matter. At one stage, it was only possible to purchase alcohol in a pub or an off-licence. Now, however, one can buy it in petrol stations. I estimate that between 80% and 85% of petrol stations sell some form of alcohol. That is not good. I ask the Minister to take urgent action in respect of this matter.

When certain people buy alcohol, they usually become involved in anti-social behaviour. There are two supermarkets — Lidl and Aldi — in my home town, Enniscorthy, which are competing with each other in respect of the sale of alcohol. These stores charge scandalously low prices in respect of alcohol. One regularly sees people leaving them on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays carrying bags full of alcohol. This leads to a great deal of anti-social behaviour.

During the lifetime of the previous Dáil, I carried out a crime survey among my constituents in County Wexford. Some of the replies I received, particularly from people living in rural areas, were shocking and frightening. Deputy Ring referred to the home protection Bill, which should be brought before the House as soon as possible. Many elderly people who live alone in rural areas are afraid to open their doors at night. No one should be afraid in his or her own home.

I wish to raise a parochial issue. Everyone refers to rural Garda stations. There is one such station, at Glynn, County Wexford, from which a full-time sergeant operates. This man is obliged to use his own car in order to patrol the area. I do not think the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform should accept the position in this regard and I ask that he pursue the matter. Visibility is a key factor. When a patrol car is visible in an area, people are discouraged from committing crimes. It is completely unacceptable that the Garda sergeant to whom I refer is obliged to use his own vehicle to patrol the locality.

  8 o’clock

I have been contacted by 80% of the residents’ associations in Enniscorthy in respect of anti-social behaviour involving people badgering others and tormenting the elderly. If we are serious about tackling this matter, we must put a stop to such behaviour. There has been a great deal of discussion with regard to gardaí on the beat. It is rare that one might see an officer on the beat. There is no doubt that gardaí are doing a great job. Some members of my family are officers on the force. I accept that gardaí operate in difficult circumstances and they do not know what they will face when they go out on patrol. The Minister should take a proactive approach to anti-social behaviour and try to help people, especially elderly people.

Deputy Andrew Doyle: Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  I, too, welcome the opportunity to speak to the motion and compliment our justice spokesman, Deputy Flanagan, on tabling it. The three simple points made in it are a concise to do list, unlike the Government’s amendment. The third point deals with community policing, an issue on which I spoke briefly yesterday when the Minister agreed that [446]one of the first things to do was to establish a clearer definition of the role of community gardaí to distinguish them from gardaí in any other part of the force. Recognition is a key aspect of the community garda’s productive and meaningful role in society. We must first find a definition, then give longer assignments in order that such gardaí have stability in their job. To achieve this, the role of community gardaí must be recognised as worthwhile to their career paths. Some see them as second rate, or like the reserve force. Those who have a vocation for this role, as people do for medicine or teaching, should believe their career can progress through being community gardaí.

There has been a problem for community gardaí in rural society which we in County Wicklow have tried to address by entitling them to receive planning permission or to live in a community. It is important that they live in a community and people know the face of the person they need to approach, as they know politicians. The community garda’s role is one of prevention rather than intervention. They are seen to be actively involved in communities, some of the social improvement programmes and youth clubs.

I welcome the development of joint policing committees in the past 18 months because that principle establishes a link between public representatives, community representatives and the Garda. It is the duty of community gardaí to carry out whatever priorities the local authority joint policing force lays down and produce some form of tangible report on their progress.

We all have a vision of what we would like for our communities but if we do not act now, we can predict where we will go. There used to be bumper stickers in rural communities stating “crime doesn’t pay — neither does farming”. I do not know about either but ten or 12 years ago when the Criminal Assets Bureau was established, following the tragic murder of Veronica Guerin, it was considered criminals would not get away. We have seen Paul Williams’s recent television programmes on the subject. Unfortunately, it seems crime does pay again. People go through the revolving door; they are in prison, come out and commit crime while on remand. They have no respect for the law.

In County Wicklow we have an opportunity as a pilot scheme area because our division is being reformed. It was one of four divisions but now we will have one of our own and a blank page on which to work.

The Fine Gael motion is focused on three points. The Government amendment opens with an expression of horror which we all share and sympathy for the victims of recent murders but goes on to “welcome”, “note”, “endorse”, “acknowledge”, “look forward to” and “support” the work done. This is aspirational waffle. The Government should support the focused motion.

Deputy Seán Barrett: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  This morning I heard a journalist from Northern Ireland being interviewed about why Ian Paisley suddenly changed his mind and entered into a coalition with Sinn Féin. The story goes that his wife said their children had never been able to walk the streets in Belfast safely but that their grandchildren should be able to do so. We need to ensure people can walk our streets safely. That is the responsibility of the Government.

We fail to recognise that in the past five to ten years the population has increased by 600,000, yet our police force has only 1,000 or 2,000 more members than it had seven or nine years ago. When I was growing up in Dalkey, we knew the local gardaí because there was no such thing as shift work or representative associations. They were on duty whenever they were needed. Nobody expects that today and even if they did, they would not get it because nowadays people are represented by various associations. It is time the Government sat down with the associations to talk about the problem.

[447]The Government amendment states an aspiration to have 15,000 gardaí but, effectively, there will be only 3,000 on duty at any given time for the 26 counties of the Republic. There are three shifts with one unit resting, making four, and account must be taken of illness, special duties, court appearances and so on. We do not have 15,000 gardaí to patrol our streets. We must make up our mind to pay for this. There is no point in introducing more legislation or giving more power to the Garda if it does not have the numbers to implement the changes.

I was my party’s spokesman on justice in 1988. The Intoxicating Liquor Act provided power to confiscate alcohol from youths, yet we talk about anti-social behaviour, youths drinking in open spaces and causing havoc. Twenty years ago we passed a law which provided that a garda could walk up and confiscate alcohol being drunk in public places. We also provided in that Act that it would be illegal to not sell alcohol over a counter in order that the seller would know who was paying for the drink. The problem was that the Minister of the day had to make an order to bring that provision into being but it was never made because of supermarket lobbying. The Government can have all the powers it likes but if it is not prepared to pay for personnel, the laws will not be implemented.

We do not have a sufficient number of gardaí to carry out the duties we expect them to peform. There is no point in criticising them if they do not have the numbers. We can give them more powers if they need them but let us not live in a society such that we cannot walk safely down a street and our every step is recorded on camera. I do not want to live in such a society. I want to return to my house in the evening, close the door and feel safe and know that my kids and grandchildren can walk the streets without fear.

As political organisations, we must also consider the type of society we want. Earlier today I spoke on the Finance Bill. The reality is that individualisation brought about an enormous change in this country under the taxation system. We ignored the good being done by a parent at home — 95% of the time by mothers. A mother absent from the home when children come in from school is a disaster in this society. All of us here recognise the benefit of having had a mother there when one came home, who kept one out of trouble and encouraged participation in organisations such as scouts, etc. All of that has changed. People are driving many miles to and from work and are tired when they come home in the evening. Then we wonder why the children are running riot. Let us get back to basics and realise we have made mistakes and should correct them.

Minister of State at the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform (Deputy Seán Power): Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  No doubt many people will be keen to hear Deputy Barrett elaborate on what he is proposing. While he might consider it back to basics, many others might have a different view.

Deputy Seán Barrett: Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Maybe so, but that is politics.

Deputy Seán Power: Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  We have had a very useful debate on this very important topic, last night and tonight. It has given us an opportunity on every side of the House to condemn all unlawful killings and to express sympathy with the families of those killed in this way, particularly with the two Polish families of Pawel Kalite and Mariusz Swajkos who were tragically killed 11 days ago.

The Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy Brian Lenihan, answered questions in the House yesterday. He also contributed to the debate here last night. A number of Members referred to alcohol and the damage it is causing, including the increase in anti-social behaviour right across the country. It is not that long ago since the House held a debate on extending the hours during which alcohol could be made available. At that stage, there seemed to be a consensus on all sides for longer drinking hours. Experience over a number of years, [448]however, has persuaded many of us that a change is needed in that regard and we will have to restrict the outlets and opening hours currently available.

Deputy Flanagan made a wide-ranging contribution last night. He demanded more robust measures across a range of areas. There are already strong provisions in place to deal with the areas he listed. The Public Order Acts 1994 and 2003 and the Criminal Justice Acts 2006 and 2007 address loitering and intimidation. The Non-fatal Offences against the Persons Act 1997 provides for offences such as assault and syringe attacks. It also deals with offences such as harassment that are relevant to loitering and intimidation. The 2006 Criminal Justice Act makes it an offence to assault or threaten to assault medical personnel in a hospital as well as fire brigade and ambulance staff.

The Public Order Acts allow the District Court to prohibit a person from entering or being near a licensed or catering premises if he or she has been convicted of a public order offence. Furthermore, the Criminal Justice Act 2006 allows a court to impose a restriction on movement order on a person convicted of any of a range of public order offences or an offence such as assault or harassment. The courts have considerable flexibility regarding the nature of these orders. While the Minister, Deputy Brian Lenihan, considers that these legislative provisions do not require further strengthening, the operation of the legislation is kept under review.

The Criminal Justice Act 2006 provides for the issue of a fixed charge penalty notice by the gardaí if a person has been intoxicated or engaged in disorderly conduct in a public place. An Garda Siochána is engaged in adapting its IT systems to enable this provision to be implemented, and implementation will take place this year.

As regards meaningful and real fines, the Government has introduced the Fines Bill 2007, which is currently before the House. When enacted, it will raise the level of all fines for summary offences imposed in the District Court to the value they had when the offences were first created. The Bill includes provision for payment of fines by instalment. Members on all sides referred to anti-social behaviour and the role CCTV can play in combating it. CCTV has the potential to play an important role in supporting the gardaí in fighting criminal and anti-social behaviour and helping to make communities safer. The Government is fully committed to the further expansion of CCTV in towns nationwide. There are currently 12 Garda operated CCTV systems in operation in towns around the country. Three new systems — Tullamore, Ballyfermot and Clondalkin — were brought into operation last year and work is under way on a further 15 systems.

In addition, the community-based CCTV scheme is being rolled out around the country and more than €7 million has been awarded in grants under the scheme so far. Local CCTV is already in operation in nine areas and systems are being put into operation in many others.

I thank Members for their contributions. In general, they have been very positive.

Deputy Billy Timmins: Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  I am sharing the 15-minute slot with Deputies Dan Neville and Charles Flanagan, with the agreement of the House.

I want to sympathise with the victims of crime, those who suffer in silence and those who suffer publicly. I am slowly realising why this Government is paralysed in the fight against crime. I heard some of Deputy Cuffe’s contribution and he called for no knee-jerk reaction such as more gardaí or bringing in hard measures. What next — a cup of cocoa for everybody before they go to bed at night? No wonder the Government cannot bring in any policies. He went on to say he would like to see heated swimming pools within five minutes of everyone who lives in a working class area. Is he for real? With people like him propping up the Government, it is no wonder we are in a shambles. If he spent less time climbing the trees in the Glen [449]of the Downs, causing trouble down in Shannon and occupying the time of the Garda, we might have more gardaí on the beat.

When I walk into a classroom in my constituency I can tell who is going to end up in jail. Most of us in this House can do so. We have heard about “zero tolerance” which has evolved into a term of vulgarity. Its main proponent used it to such a degree that he could not say anything about crime for five years. He was replaced by someone who could not stop saying something about it, but neither of them actually did anything about it. We are failing to address the small things.

People live in fear and are afraid walking down the street. Statistics show that many people who suffer in knife attacks actually own the offending weapon. They take the knife along for protection, which is a terrible indictment of our society, and indeed the Government. We need more gardaí— punishment works only in a small percentage of cases — and innovation. On this side of the House we have come up with innovative proposals over the last few years such as rehabilitation centres, which are not boot camps although they were referred to as such by some Members on the Government side who were seeking popularity. I advise the Minister and his staff to go to Thorn Cross in Warrington and see how it actually works as opposed to Mountjoy, where the educational centre, completed in April 2003, remained unused up to April 2004. There youngsters sit around smoking, watching DVDs and whatever, with no attempts at rehabilitation to give them back a sense of self-worth. We must put the emphasis on educational reform and early intervention to stop juvenile delinquency.

Most people who go on to commit crime suffer some educational disadvantage, be it literacy or numeracy. We have done nothing to address it in this country. Many teachers cannot even identify children suffering from dyslexia, but those who feel excluded from society strike back at it. That is simply what is happening. I noticed an e-mail today from the former Taoiseach, Mr. John Bruton. He recounted the statistics per head of population of people in prison around the globe. It is interesting and I advise the Minister to look at that and examine the policies other countries have. He should stop burying his head in the sand, get out and look at the systems that work. The importance of putting funding into early educational disadvantage cannot be over-emphasised. I am weary from saying this.

Deputy Dan Neville: Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  I welcome the opportunity to speak on this motion and congratulate Deputy Charles Flanagan on tabling it.

Anti-social behaviour must be tackled as a matter of urgency. It is destroying many communities and this is very evident in many towns and villages. I am regularly approached about it in my constituency. People in Newcastle West almost feel under siege at certain times of the weekend. Extra resources must be provided to ensure anti-social behaviour is tackled. In too many communities, decent people are being harassed and bullied. Anti-social behaviour is spoiling our sense of community and degrading our environment. It reduces our quality of life and chips away at our sense of security, civic pride and peace of mind.

Let me elaborate on the comments of Deputy Timmins. Early intervention in respect of many children in difficulty is very important in ensuring their behaviour is controlled and that their mental illness dealt with. According to the governor of Mountjoy Prison, some 40% of prisoners suffer from attention deficit disorder, which is not being dealt with properly. Many prisoners are suffering from psychiatric illnesses, especially those who have committed minor offences and petty crimes, and they are not being treated in prison. If their problems were addressed, much anti-social behaviour would be tackled.

The problems that lead to anti-social behaviour should be addressed when those concerned are children. A particular difficulty arises when dealing with children who engage in anti-social [450]behaviour. There is a perception that nothing can be done but I do not accept this. Where a child offends, a system of family conferences should be introduced that incorporates restorative justice provisions within its parameters. The child should be present at each conference and the focus should be on accountability for wrongdoing. The conference should be convened by the gardaí and should formulate an action plan for the child. The action plan should or may include the making of an apology or financial or other reparation to the victim. It should make provision relating to the child’s lifestyle, such as attendance at school or participation in appropriate sports or recreational activities.

Action plans should also provide that children or young people should stay away from certain places or people in order to avoid involvement in anti-social activity. They may also include a curfew, especially at night. This should be done in respect of children who engage in anti-social behaviour.

Deputy Charles Flanagan: Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  I thank the Deputies for their contributions and the Minister and Minister of State for attending. I thank the Labour Party for its support.

It is absolutely essential that Members not only recognise but also comprehensively address anti-social behaviour, and that we do so without delay. We must bring an end to the mindless knife culture. It is totally unacceptable to have gangs of youths hanging around street corners carrying an array of offensive weapons. This is already a criminal offence and I, for one, would like to see those who carry such weapons prosecuted and dealt with by the courts. Why is it not happening?

Anyone caught with a blade, sharpened screwdriver or similar dangerous weapon who cannot justify why he requires it should be brought before the courts and prosecuted. The Minister needs to ensure that this will happen if he is sincere about tackling knife crime.

All of us in this House must acknowledge the role that drug and alcohol abuse plays in fuelling anti-social behaviour. We must find solutions to existing problems and put in place preventative measures to ensure future generations of young people do not fall into a pattern of anti-social behaviour. I am disappointed, however, that Fianna Fáil chose to “spin” the Fine Gael motion as an attempt to ban kitchen knives and search dishwashers. On no occasion was such a proposition put forward by Fine Gael. Fianna Fáil is simplifying the serious debate in a cynical and manipulative way.

We introduced this motion in good faith, hoping to engage meaningfully with the Government on these important issues. Rather than choosing to engage with us, Fianna Fáil chose to spin. This petulant approach does the Government no credit and is an insult to the 36 people who lost their lives as a result of stabbings last year, and to the communities in this city and beyond ravaged by anti-social behaviour.

Last night, the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform, Deputy Brian Lenihan, promised increased enforcement of the Misuse of Drugs Act. Given what we know about the abysmal resources with which customs officers are trying to stem the drugs tide, I feel the Minister is placing An Garda Síochána in an impossible position. On the one hand, the Government is unwilling to allocate the resources necessary to intercept drugs at the point of entry while, on the other, gardaí are being told to work harder to detect more drugs once they reach the streets. This penny-pinching has resulted in a lone X-ray scanner and a lone patrol boat, and this makes no sense given the scale of the drugs problem.

Starving customs officers of resources and expecting the Garda to pick up the pieces constitutes utterly dysfunctional government in my view. Similarly, expecting the Garda to deal with the consequences of violent disorder outside nightclubs and bars while extending nightclub [451]hours and allowing 650 new off-licences in 2007 is utterly inconsistent. There are now a staggering 4,300 off-licence outlets across the country. We do not know how many extensions to bar opening hours were granted last year. I asked a parliamentary question on the matter but it was ruled out of order. The matter was referred to the Courts Service, which stated it could not tell me the answer. We therefore do not know what is happening.

Although the HSE has closed facilities designed to deal with anti-social behaviour, it is a professed aim of the Government to eradicate anti-social behaviour. It is as if the right hand does not know or even care what the left hand does in Government and in the Department of Justice, Equality and Law Reform.

On the question of alcohol, Fianna Fáil has wholeheartedly embraced the Progressive Democrats’ ideology of putting the market ahead of the common good. According to this viewpoint, as long as business is booming, nothing else matters, even if that business involves below-cost selling, a dial-a-can service or an offer of two cans for the price of one or 24 for 12. Once alcohol is being sold to a willing purchaser, the Government will allow it. At the same time, the Government seems somewhat baffled that binge drinking, particularly by minors, is becoming endemic. Hence, we have a proliferation of off-licences while the Minister feels the need to set up a task group to figure out where it all went wrong.

There is a pressing need to restrict the availability of alcohol and to ensure that those who break the law are prosecuted. That only 14 premises were prosecuted for supplying alcohol to minors in 2007 raises serious questions. Two responses are absolutely vital. The first is to embed a sufficient number of gardaí directly in communities. Last night, Fine Gael provided a range of suggestions in respect of how this might be done. The second response is to ensure that the Government is consistent in its approach.

On the matter of consistency, it is a total waste of time and resources to allow drugs through our ports and small airports while expecting gardaí to take them off the streets. It is a complete waste of time to allow a proliferation of alcohol outlets to open and then to feign concern about under age and binge drinking. It is a complete waste of time to train gardaí in Templemore if they are to sit behind desks in stations throughout the country. It is a complete waste of time to introduce laws prohibiting blades and other offensive weapons and general anti-social behaviour without ensuring that they are enforced daily and consistently.

Before Christmas, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin called for a national forum on crime. The Government response was to pooh-pooh and ignore it. The President called for a national conversation on crime and experts speak about parental and personal responsibility. This is all very fine and laudable but the first responsibility must be to ensure a security response in the form of criminal justice action. I hope this will focus the Government’s mind on anti-social behaviour. Those in Government who have the privilege of holding power do so at a price — they are charged with ensuring the safety and security of every person living in this State. The Government is happy to hold power but reluctant to pay the price.

I commend the motion to the House. The Minister’s amendment does no more than clap him on the back for what he has done and ignores a real and dangerous threat to society. I will press the motion and ask for the support of every Member to send a wake-up call to the Government.

Acting Chairman: Information on Brian O'Shea  Zoom on Brian O'Shea  I am required to put the following question on the amendment moved by Deputy Aengus Ó Snodaigh to amendment No. 1 in the name of the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform: “That the words proposed to be deleted stand part of the main question.”

Question put.

[452]The Dáil divided: Tá, 73; Níl, 62.

Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Ahern, Dermot. Information on Michael Ahern  Zoom on Michael Ahern  Ahern, Michael.
Information on Noel Ahern  Zoom on Noel Ahern  Ahern, Noel. Information on Barry Andrews  Zoom on Barry Andrews  Andrews, Barry.
Information on Chris Andrews  Zoom on Chris Andrews  Andrews, Chris. Information on Bobby Aylward  Zoom on Bobby Aylward  Aylward, Bobby.
Information on Joe Behan  Zoom on Joe Behan  Behan, Joe. Information on Niall Blaney  Zoom on Niall Blaney  Blaney, Niall.
Information on Aine Brady  Zoom on Aine Brady  Brady, Áine. Information on Cyprian Brady  Zoom on Cyprian Brady  Brady, Cyprian.
Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Brady, Johnny. Information on Thomas Byrne  Zoom on Thomas Byrne  Byrne, Thomas.
Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  Calleary, Dara. Information on Pat Carey  Zoom on Pat Carey  Carey, Pat.
Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  Collins, Niall. Information on Margaret Conlon  Zoom on Margaret Conlon  Conlon, Margaret.
Information on Sean Connick  Zoom on Sean Connick  Connick, Seán. Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Coughlan, Mary.
Information on John Cregan  Zoom on John Cregan  Cregan, John. Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  Cuffe, Ciarán.
Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  Cullen, Martin. Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Curran, John.
Information on Jimmy Devins  Zoom on Jimmy Devins  Devins, Jimmy. Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  Dooley, Timmy.
Information on Michael Finneran  Zoom on Michael Finneran  Finneran, Michael. Information on Michael Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Michael Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Michael.
Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Seán. Information on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Zoom on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Flynn, Beverley.
Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher  Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher  Gallagher, Pat The Cope. Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Gogarty, Paul.
Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Gormley, John. Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  Hanafin, Mary.
Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Harney, Mary. Information on Jackie Healy-Rae  Zoom on Jackie Healy-Rae  Healy-Rae, Jackie.
Information on Máire Hoctor  Zoom on Máire Hoctor  Hoctor, Máire. Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy.
Information on Peter Kelly  Zoom on Peter Kelly  Kelly, Peter. Information on Brendan Kenneally  Zoom on Brendan Kenneally  Kenneally, Brendan.
Information on Michael Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Kennedy  Kennedy, Michael. Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Kirk, Seamus.
Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Kitt, Michael P. Information on Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  Kitt, Tom.
Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Lenihan, Brian. Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  Lenihan, Conor.
Information on Michael Lowry  Zoom on Michael Lowry  Lowry, Michael. Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  Mansergh, Martin.
Information on Tom McEllistrim  Zoom on Tom McEllistrim  McEllistrim, Thomas. Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  McGrath, Mattie.
Information on Michael McGrath  Zoom on Michael McGrath  McGrath, Michael. Information on John McGuinness  Zoom on John McGuinness  McGuinness, John.
Information on John Moloney  Zoom on John Moloney  Moloney, John. Information on Michael Moynihan  Zoom on Michael Moynihan  Moynihan, Michael.
Information on Michael Mulcahy  Zoom on Michael Mulcahy  Mulcahy, Michael. Information on M. J. Nolan  Zoom on M. J. Nolan  Nolan, M.J.
Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Ó Cuív, Éamon. Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
Information on Darragh O'Brien  Zoom on Darragh O'Brien  O’Brien, Darragh. Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  O’Connor, Charlie.
Information on Noel O'Flynn  Zoom on Noel O'Flynn  O’Flynn, Noel. Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Batt.
Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Edward. Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  O’Rourke, Mary.
Information on Christy O'Sullivan  Zoom on Christy O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Christy. Information on Peter Power  Zoom on Peter Power  Power, Peter.
Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Power, Seán. Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  Roche, Dick.
Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Ryan, Eamon. Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Sargent, Trevor.
Information on Eamon Scanlon  Zoom on Eamon Scanlon  Scanlon, Eamon. Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  Smith, Brendan.
Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  Treacy, Noel. Information on Mary Wallace  Zoom on Mary Wallace  Wallace, Mary.
Information on Mary Alexandra White  Zoom on Mary Alexandra White  White, Mary Alexandra.  


Níl
Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Bannon, James. Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Barrett, Seán.
Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  Breen, Pat. Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P.
Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Bruton, Richard. Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  Burke, Ulick.
Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  Carey, Joe. Information on Deirdre Clune  Zoom on Deirdre Clune  Clune, Deirdre.
Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Connaughton, Paul. Information on Noel Coonan  Zoom on Noel Coonan  Coonan, Noel J.
Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  Costello, Joe. Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  Coveney, Simon.
Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Crawford, Seymour. Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Creed, Michael.
Information on Michael D'Arcy  Zoom on Michael D'Arcy  D’Arcy, Michael. Information on John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John.
Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy. Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  Doyle, Andrew.
Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J. Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien.
Information on Olwyn Enright  Zoom on Olwyn Enright  Enright, Olwyn. Information on Frank Feighan  Zoom on Frank Feighan  Feighan, Frank.
Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin. Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Flanagan, Charles.
Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Flanagan, Terence. Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Gilmore, Eamon.
Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Hayes, Brian. Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom.
Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  Hogan, Phil. Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul.
Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Kenny, Enda. Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  Lynch, Ciarán.
Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Lynch, Kathleen. Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  McCormack, Pádraic.
Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  McEntee, Shane. Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  McHugh, Joe.
Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  McManus, Liz. Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia.
Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Naughten, Denis. Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan.
Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  Noonan, Michael. Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus. Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Kieran.
Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  O’Dowd, Fergus. Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Jim.
Information on Brian O'Shea  Zoom on Brian O'Shea  O’Shea, Brian. Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Jan.
Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Penrose, Willie. Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  Perry, John.
Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Rabbitte, Pat. Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Reilly, James.
Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Ring, Michael. Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  Sheahan, Tom.
Information on P. J. Sheehan  Zoom on P. J. Sheehan  Sheehan, P.J. Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  Sherlock, Seán.
Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet. Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  Stanton, David.
Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Timmins, Billy. Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  Tuffy, Joanna.
Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Upton, Mary. Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar  Varadkar, Leo.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Tom Kitt and John Curran; Níl, Deputies Aengus Ó Snodaigh and Paul Kehoe.

Question declared carried.

Amendment to amendment declared lost.

Amendment put.

The Dáil divided: Tá, 73; Níl, 62.

Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Ahern, Dermot. Information on Michael Ahern  Zoom on Michael Ahern  Ahern, Michael.
Information on Noel Ahern  Zoom on Noel Ahern  Ahern, Noel. Information on Barry Andrews  Zoom on Barry Andrews  Andrews, Barry.
Information on Chris Andrews  Zoom on Chris Andrews  Andrews, Chris. Information on Bobby Aylward  Zoom on Bobby Aylward  Aylward, Bobby.
Information on Joe Behan  Zoom on Joe Behan  Behan, Joe. Information on Niall Blaney  Zoom on Niall Blaney  Blaney, Niall.
Information on Aine Brady  Zoom on Aine Brady  Brady, Áine. Information on Cyprian Brady  Zoom on Cyprian Brady  Brady, Cyprian.
Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Brady, Johnny. Information on Thomas Byrne  Zoom on Thomas Byrne  Byrne, Thomas.
Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  Calleary, Dara. Information on Pat Carey  Zoom on Pat Carey  Carey, Pat.
Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  Collins, Niall. Information on Margaret Conlon  Zoom on Margaret Conlon  Conlon, Margaret.
Information on Sean Connick  Zoom on Sean Connick  Connick, Seán. Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Coughlan, Mary.
Information on John Cregan  Zoom on John Cregan  Cregan, John. Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  Cuffe, Ciarán.
Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  Cullen, Martin. Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Curran, John.
Information on Jimmy Devins  Zoom on Jimmy Devins  Devins, Jimmy. Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  Dooley, Timmy.
Information on Michael Finneran  Zoom on Michael Finneran  Finneran, Michael. Information on Michael Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Michael Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Michael.
Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Seán. Information on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Zoom on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Flynn, Beverley.
Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher  Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher  Gallagher, Pat The Cope. Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Gogarty, Paul.
Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Gormley, John. Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  Hanafin, Mary.
Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Harney, Mary. Information on Jackie Healy-Rae  Zoom on Jackie Healy-Rae  Healy-Rae, Jackie.
Information on Máire Hoctor  Zoom on Máire Hoctor  Hoctor, Máire. Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy.
Information on Peter Kelly  Zoom on Peter Kelly  Kelly, Peter. Information on Brendan Kenneally  Zoom on Brendan Kenneally  Kenneally, Brendan.
Information on Michael Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Kennedy  Kennedy, Michael. Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Kirk, Seamus.
Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Kitt, Michael P. Information on Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  Kitt, Tom.
Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Lenihan, Brian. Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  Lenihan, Conor.
Information on Michael Lowry  Zoom on Michael Lowry  Lowry, Michael. Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  Mansergh, Martin.
Information on Tom McEllistrim  Zoom on Tom McEllistrim  McEllistrim, Thomas. Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  McGrath, Mattie.
Information on Michael McGrath  Zoom on Michael McGrath  McGrath, Michael. Information on John McGuinness  Zoom on John McGuinness  McGuinness, John.
Information on John Moloney  Zoom on John Moloney  Moloney, John. Information on Michael Moynihan  Zoom on Michael Moynihan  Moynihan, Michael.
Information on Michael Mulcahy  Zoom on Michael Mulcahy  Mulcahy, Michael. Information on M. J. Nolan  Zoom on M. J. Nolan  Nolan, M. J.
Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Ó Cuív, Éamon. Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
Information on Darragh O'Brien  Zoom on Darragh O'Brien  O’Brien, Darragh. Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  O’Connor, Charlie.
Information on Noel O'Flynn  Zoom on Noel O'Flynn  O’Flynn, Noel. Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Batt.
Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Edward. Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  O’Rourke, Mary.
Information on Christy O'Sullivan  Zoom on Christy O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Christy. Information on Peter Power  Zoom on Peter Power  Power, Peter.
Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Power, Seán. Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  Roche, Dick.
Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Ryan, Eamon. Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Sargent, Trevor.
Information on Eamon Scanlon  Zoom on Eamon Scanlon  Scanlon, Eamon. Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  Smith, Brendan.
Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  Treacy, Noel. Information on Mary Wallace  Zoom on Mary Wallace  Wallace, Mary.
Information on Mary Alexandra White  Zoom on Mary Alexandra White  White, Mary Alexandra.  


Níl
Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Bannon, James. Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Barrett, Seán.
Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  Breen, Pat. Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P.
Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Bruton, Richard. Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  Burke, Ulick.
Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  Carey, Joe. Information on Deirdre Clune  Zoom on Deirdre Clune  Clune, Deirdre.
Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Connaughton, Paul. Information on Noel Coonan  Zoom on Noel Coonan  Coonan, Noel J.
Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  Costello, Joe. Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  Coveney, Simon.
Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Crawford, Seymour. Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Creed, Michael.
Information on Michael D'Arcy  Zoom on Michael D'Arcy  D’Arcy, Michael. Information on John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John.
Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy. Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  Doyle, Andrew.
Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J. Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien.
Information on Olwyn Enright  Zoom on Olwyn Enright  Enright, Olwyn. Information on Frank Feighan  Zoom on Frank Feighan  Feighan, Frank.
Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin. Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Flanagan, Charles.
Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Flanagan, Terence. Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Gilmore, Eamon.
Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Hayes, Brian. Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom.
Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  Hogan, Phil. Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul.
Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Kenny, Enda. Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  Lynch, Ciarán.
Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Lynch, Kathleen. Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  McCormack, Pádraic.
Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  McEntee, Shane. Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  McHugh, Joe.
Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  McManus, Liz. Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia.
Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Naughten, Denis. Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan.
Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  Noonan, Michael. Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus. Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Kieran.
Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  O’Dowd, Fergus. Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Jim.
Information on Brian O'Shea  Zoom on Brian O'Shea  O’Shea, Brian. Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Jan.
Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Penrose, Willie. Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  Perry, John.
Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Rabbitte, Pat. Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Reilly, James.
Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Ring, Michael. Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  Sheahan, Tom.
Information on P. J. Sheehan  Zoom on P. J. Sheehan  Sheehan, P. J. Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  Sherlock, Seán.
Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet. Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  Stanton, David.
Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Timmins, Billy. Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  Tuffy, Joanna.
Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Upton, Mary. Information on Leo Varadkar  Zoom on Leo Varadkar  Varadkar, Leo.

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Tom Kitt and John Curran; Níl, Deputies Paul Kehoe and Emmet Stagg.

Amendment declared carried.

Question put: “That the motion, as amended, be agreed to.”

The Dáil divided: Tá, 73; Níl, 61.

Information on Dermot Ahern  Zoom on Dermot Ahern  Ahern, Dermot. Information on Michael Ahern  Zoom on Michael Ahern  Ahern, Michael.
Information on Noel Ahern  Zoom on Noel Ahern  Ahern, Noel. Information on Barry Andrews  Zoom on Barry Andrews  Andrews, Barry.
Information on Chris Andrews  Zoom on Chris Andrews  Andrews, Chris. Information on Bobby Aylward  Zoom on Bobby Aylward  Aylward, Bobby.
Information on Joe Behan  Zoom on Joe Behan  Behan, Joe. Information on Niall Blaney  Zoom on Niall Blaney  Blaney, Niall.
Information on Aine Brady  Zoom on Aine Brady  Brady, Áine. Information on Cyprian Brady  Zoom on Cyprian Brady  Brady, Cyprian.
Information on Johnny Brady  Zoom on Johnny Brady  Brady, Johnny. Information on Thomas Byrne  Zoom on Thomas Byrne  Byrne, Thomas.
Information on Dara Calleary  Zoom on Dara Calleary  Calleary, Dara. Information on Pat Carey  Zoom on Pat Carey  Carey, Pat.
Information on Niall Collins  Zoom on Niall Collins  Collins, Niall. Information on Margaret Conlon  Zoom on Margaret Conlon  Conlon, Margaret.
Information on Sean Connick  Zoom on Sean Connick  Connick, Seán. Information on Mary Coughlan  Zoom on Mary Coughlan  Coughlan, Mary.
Information on John Cregan  Zoom on John Cregan  Cregan, John. Information on Ciaran Cuffe  Zoom on Ciaran Cuffe  Cuffe, Ciarán.
Information on Martin Cullen  Zoom on Martin Cullen  Cullen, Martin. Information on John Curran  Zoom on John Curran  Curran, John.
Information on Jimmy Devins  Zoom on Jimmy Devins  Devins, Jimmy. Information on Tim Dooley  Zoom on Tim Dooley  Dooley, Timmy.
Information on Michael Finneran  Zoom on Michael Finneran  Finneran, Michael. Information on Michael Fitzpatrick  Zoom on Michael Fitzpatrick  Fitzpatrick, Michael.
Information on Seán Fleming  Zoom on Seán Fleming  Fleming, Seán. Information on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Zoom on Beverley Cooper-Flynn  Flynn, Beverley.
Information on Pat the Cope Gallagher  Zoom on Pat the Cope Gallagher  Gallagher, Pat The Cope. Information on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Zoom on Paul Nicholas Gogarty  Gogarty, Paul.
Information on John Gormley  Zoom on John Gormley  Gormley, John. Information on Mary Hanafin  Zoom on Mary Hanafin  Hanafin, Mary.
Information on Mary Harney  Zoom on Mary Harney  Harney, Mary. Information on Jackie Healy-Rae  Zoom on Jackie Healy-Rae  Healy-Rae, Jackie.
Information on Máire Hoctor  Zoom on Máire Hoctor  Hoctor, Máire. Information on Billy Kelleher  Zoom on Billy Kelleher  Kelleher, Billy.
Information on Peter Kelly  Zoom on Peter Kelly  Kelly, Peter. Information on Brendan Kenneally  Zoom on Brendan Kenneally  Kenneally, Brendan.
Information on Michael Kennedy  Zoom on Michael Kennedy  Kennedy, Michael. Information on Seamus Kirk  Zoom on Seamus Kirk  Kirk, Seamus.
Information on Michael Kitt  Zoom on Michael Kitt  Kitt, Michael P. Information on Tom Kitt  Zoom on Tom Kitt  Kitt, Tom.
Information on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Zoom on Brian Joseph Lenihan  Lenihan, Brian. Information on Conor Lenihan  Zoom on Conor Lenihan  Lenihan, Conor.
Information on Michael Lowry  Zoom on Michael Lowry  Lowry, Michael. Information on Dr Martin Mansergh  Zoom on Dr Martin Mansergh  Mansergh, Martin.
Information on Tom McEllistrim  Zoom on Tom McEllistrim  McEllistrim, Thomas. Information on Mattie McGrath  Zoom on Mattie McGrath  McGrath, Mattie.
Information on Michael McGrath  Zoom on Michael McGrath  McGrath, Michael. Information on John McGuinness  Zoom on John McGuinness  McGuinness, John.
Information on John Moloney  Zoom on John Moloney  Moloney, John. Information on Michael Moynihan  Zoom on Michael Moynihan  Moynihan, Michael.
Information on Michael Mulcahy  Zoom on Michael Mulcahy  Mulcahy, Michael. Information on M. J. Nolan  Zoom on M. J. Nolan  Nolan, M. J.
Information on Éamon Ó Cuív  Zoom on Éamon Ó Cuív  Ó Cuív, Éamon. Information on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Zoom on Seán Ó Fearghaíl  Ó Fearghaíl, Seán.
Information on Darragh O'Brien  Zoom on Darragh O'Brien  O’Brien, Darragh. Information on Charlie O'Connor  Zoom on Charlie O'Connor  O’Connor, Charlie.
Information on Noel O'Flynn  Zoom on Noel O'Flynn  O’Flynn, Noel. Information on Batt O'Keeffe  Zoom on Batt O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Batt.
Information on Ned O'Keeffe  Zoom on Ned O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Edward. Information on Mary O'Rourke  Zoom on Mary O'Rourke  O’Rourke, Mary.
Information on Christy O'Sullivan  Zoom on Christy O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Christy. Information on Peter Power  Zoom on Peter Power  Power, Peter.
Information on Seán Power  Zoom on Seán Power  Power, Seán. Information on Dick Roche  Zoom on Dick Roche  Roche, Dick.
Information on Eamon Ryan  Zoom on Eamon Ryan  Ryan, Eamon. Information on Trevor Sargent  Zoom on Trevor Sargent  Sargent, Trevor.
Information on Eamon Scanlon  Zoom on Eamon Scanlon  Scanlon, Eamon. Information on Brendan Smith  Zoom on Brendan Smith  Smith, Brendan.
Information on Noel Treacy  Zoom on Noel Treacy  Treacy, Noel. Information on Mary Wallace  Zoom on Mary Wallace  Wallace, Mary.
Information on Mary Alexandra White  Zoom on Mary Alexandra White  White, Mary Alexandra.  


Níl
Information on James Bannon  Zoom on James Bannon  Bannon, James. Information on Seán Barrett  Zoom on Seán Barrett  Barrett, Seán.
Information on Pat Breen  Zoom on Pat Breen  Breen, Pat. Information on Thomas P. Broughan  Zoom on Thomas P. Broughan  Broughan, Thomas P.
Information on Richard Bruton  Zoom on Richard Bruton  Bruton, Richard. Information on Ulick Burke  Zoom on Ulick Burke  Burke, Ulick.
Information on Joe Carey  Zoom on Joe Carey  Carey, Joe. Information on Deirdre Clune  Zoom on Deirdre Clune  Clune, Deirdre.
Information on Paul Connaughton  Zoom on Paul Connaughton  Connaughton, Paul. Information on Noel Coonan  Zoom on Noel Coonan  Coonan, Noel J.
Information on Joe Costello  Zoom on Joe Costello  Costello, Joe. Information on Simon Coveney  Zoom on Simon Coveney  Coveney, Simon.
Information on Seymour Crawford  Zoom on Seymour Crawford  Crawford, Seymour. Information on Michael Creed  Zoom on Michael Creed  Creed, Michael.
Information on Michael D'Arcy  Zoom on Michael D'Arcy  D’Arcy, Michael. Information on John Deasy  Zoom on John Deasy  Deasy, John.
Information on Jimmy Deenihan  Zoom on Jimmy Deenihan  Deenihan, Jimmy. Information on Andrew Doyle  Zoom on Andrew Doyle  Doyle, Andrew.
Information on Bernard Durkan  Zoom on Bernard Durkan  Durkan, Bernard J. Information on Damien English  Zoom on Damien English  English, Damien.
Information on Olwyn Enright  Zoom on Olwyn Enright  Enright, Olwyn. Information on Frank Feighan  Zoom on Frank Feighan  Feighan, Frank.
Information on Martin Ferris  Zoom on Martin Ferris  Ferris, Martin. Information on Charles Flanagan  Zoom on Charles Flanagan  Flanagan, Charles.
Information on Terence Flanagan  Zoom on Terence Flanagan  Flanagan, Terence. Information on Eamon Gilmore  Zoom on Eamon Gilmore  Gilmore, Eamon.
Information on Brian Hayes  Zoom on Brian Hayes  Hayes, Brian. Information on Tom Hayes  Zoom on Tom Hayes  Hayes, Tom.
Information on Philip Hogan  Zoom on Philip Hogan  Hogan, Phil. Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  Kehoe, Paul.
Information on Enda Kenny  Zoom on Enda Kenny  Kenny, Enda. Information on Ciaran Lynch  Zoom on Ciaran Lynch  Lynch, Ciarán.
Information on Kathleen Lynch  Zoom on Kathleen Lynch  Lynch, Kathleen. Information on Pádraic McCormack  Zoom on Pádraic McCormack  McCormack, Pádraic.
Information on Shane McEntee  Zoom on Shane McEntee  McEntee, Shane. Information on Joe McHugh  Zoom on Joe McHugh  McHugh, Joe.
Information on Liz McManus  Zoom on Liz McManus  McManus, Liz. Information on Olivia Mitchell  Zoom on Olivia Mitchell  Mitchell, Olivia.
Information on Denis Naughten  Zoom on Denis Naughten  Naughten, Denis. Information on Dan Neville  Zoom on Dan Neville  Neville, Dan.
Information on Michael Noonan  Zoom on Michael Noonan  Noonan, Michael. Information on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Zoom on Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin  Ó Caoláin, Caoimhghín.
Information on Aengus O Snodaigh  Zoom on Aengus O Snodaigh  Ó Snodaigh, Aengus. Information on Kieran O'Donnell  Zoom on Kieran O'Donnell  O’Donnell, Kieran.
Information on Fergus O'Dowd  Zoom on Fergus O'Dowd  O’Dowd, Fergus. Information on Jim O'Keeffe  Zoom on Jim O'Keeffe  O’Keeffe, Jim.
Information on Brian O'Shea  Zoom on Brian O'Shea  O’Shea, Brian. Information on Jan O'Sullivan  Zoom on Jan O'Sullivan  O’Sullivan, Jan.
Information on Willie Penrose  Zoom on Willie Penrose  Penrose, Willie. Information on John Perry  Zoom on John Perry  Perry, John.
Information on Pat Rabbitte  Zoom on Pat Rabbitte  Rabbitte, Pat. Information on Dr James Reilly  Zoom on Dr James Reilly  Reilly, James.
Information on Michael Ring  Zoom on Michael Ring  Ring, Michael. Information on Tom Sheahan  Zoom on Tom Sheahan  Sheahan, Tom.
Information on P. J. Sheehan  Zoom on P. J. Sheehan  Sheehan, P. J. Information on Sean Sherlock  Zoom on Sean Sherlock  Sherlock, Seán.
Information on Emmet Stagg  Zoom on Emmet Stagg  Stagg, Emmet. Information on David Stanton  Zoom on David Stanton  Stanton, David.
Information on Billy Timmins  Zoom on Billy Timmins  Timmins, Billy. Information on Joanna Tuffy  Zoom on Joanna Tuffy  Tuffy, Joanna.
Information on Mary Upton  Zoom on Mary Upton  Upton, Mary.  

Tellers: Tá, Deputies Tom Kitt and John Curran; Níl, Deputies Paul Kehoe and Emmet Stagg.

Question declared carried.

Deputy Paul Kehoe: Information on Paul Kehoe  Zoom on Paul Kehoe  I thank everyone for contributing to the debate.

Deputies:  Hear, hear.


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