Thursday, 22 April 2010
Dáil Eireann Debate
107. Deputy Charlie O’Connor asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if he will allocate additional resources at Tallaght Garda station, Dublin 24, to allow the Garda to take action to combat racism in local estates; if his attention has been drawn to the figures released by South Dublin County Council suggesting an increase in such incidents; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16136/10]
108. Deputy Charlie O’Connor asked the Minister for Justice and Law Reform if he will urge the Garda Commissioner to make a decision in respect of the policing of an estate (details supplied) in Tallaght, Dublin 24, which is currently served by both Tallaght and Clondalkin Garda stations; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that there is still a crime problem in this estate; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16137/10]
The allocation of policing resources throughout the Country, including personnel, together with overall policing arrangements and operational strategy, is a matter for the Garda Commissioner and senior Garda Officers. Such allocations are continually monitored and reviewed and this ensures that optimum use is made of Garda resources and the best possible Garda service is provided to the general public.
Specifically in relation to the area referred to by the Deputy, I am advised by the Garda Authorities that this area is patrolled by members from both Tallaght and Clondalkin Garda stations. The personnel strength of these stations, as at 28 February 2010, the latest date for which figures are readily available, was 281 and 99 respectively. I am informed that there is excellent liaison and communication between the respective Community Policing Units, with regular meetings being held with Residents’ Groups from the area.
I am further advised that the area is subject to regular patrols by both uniform and plain-clothes personnel, including the Garda Mountain Bike Units, District Detective and Drug Unit personnel, supplemented as necessary by Divisional Crime Task Forces and Traffic Corps personnel. Current policing plans for the area are designed to address crime and public order issues, crime prevention and the maintenance of an environment conducive to the improvement of quality of life for the residents of the area. Community policing is a central feature and core value of this policing policy.
On the issue of combating racism, I am informed that local Garda management constantly monitors criminal activity and crime levels within the District and Division, including racially motivated incidents, and the allocation of personnel is kept under regular review. Members of the Community Policing Unit have built up good liaison mechanisms with the various ethnic groups residing and working in the Tallaght area. These members liaise closely with the communities in these areas, through the schools, businesses, Churches, Community Centres, and other community groups in the area. Members of the Community Policing Unit operate Garda Clinics, for one (1) hour per week, in conjunction with the Anti-Social Behaviour Unit of the Local Authority.
Local Garda management is satisfied that there are sufficient members allocated to the District Community Policing Unit and issues of concern and other matters brought to their attention are adequately addressed.
Any person subjected to racist abuse should report the matter at their local Garda station or to any member of An Garda Síochána and the matter will be investigated. Members of the public affected by racism should speak to an Ethnic Liaison Officer (ELO), whose function is to liaise with local ethnic communities. Ethnic Liaison Officers have been trained to be particularly aware of the issue of racism and its impact. These officers are available in each Garda Division in the country. If a person needs encouragement or support in reporting a racist incident they can arrange to meet an ELO at their local Garda station to discuss the matter.
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