COVID-19 restrictions are to blame for the current crime wave in Dublin, the Irish Youth Foundation has claimed.
Following a number of high profile crimes in the capital, a number of foreign embassies issued travel advisories to their citizens, warning them to be careful in Dublin.
On The Pat Kenny Show, Irish Youth Foundation (IYF) chief Lucy Masterson said the roots of the problem go back a number of years.
“If you look back to just before the pandemic and the three lockdowns, for children and young people who were living in disadvantaged circumstances in Ireland, life was already challenging,” she said.
“Through those gruelling lockdowns, all of their safe spaces were removed.
“Education, which was the primary caregiver for many of these children living in these circumstances, that came to a halt.”
During the pandemic, the Irish Youth Foundation surveyed 350 youth workers and most predicted the restrictions would have a negative impact on young people’s behaviour.
“What they predicted at the time is really quite shocking because it’s actually playing out in front of our eyes,” Ms Masterson said.
“Over half of them said there was going to be a steep rise in anti-social behaviour and criminality as we came out of lockdown.
“Three-quarters of them were predicting long-term mental health issues.
“They were predicting steep rises in early school leaving and increased cycles in poverty and unemployment.”
Ms Masterston said although the issues of crime and anti-social behaviour are “major” in some communities, there are solutions to them.
“Immediate solutions could be funding more homework clubs and after school supports,” she said.
“Also, summertime - really practical, for every hour that a young person is hanging around on the streets during the summer holidays is an hour they can be picked off by drug dealers or get groomed for gangs.
“So, invest in direct intervention programmes during the summer so kids can get out of the city.”
Last week, the Government announced a €10 million funding boost to pay for extra Garda shifts in Dublin.
Main image: Split of a Garda and a COVID test.