Jack Quann
Jack Quann

15.43 4 May 2021


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A Dublin councillor says a change to drinking laws, and curfews on younger people, could be a solution to anti-social behaviour.

Social Democrats councillor for Howth and Malahide, Joan Hopkins, was speaking after a woman fell under a train last month.

Gardaí are investigating the incident at Howth Junction DART Station on April 1st.

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Footage of the incident shows the woman hurrying to catch the train before a youth lunges at her.

A second youth then pushes his bike towards her, knocking her towards the tracks.

The woman was rescued by onlookers before the train began to move off.

Councillor Hopkins told Lunchtime Live we need more Gardaí on the streets.

"We have 40% less Guards in Ireland than the EU average, we need our Garda stations to open longer hours.

"The fact that this particular incident, this most recent incident, happened right outside Malahide Garda station it would really kind of frighten you a little bit.

"What I'd like to see is more dedicated community police: Guards that are consistently posted to one station, that they're out and about, they're visible, they're getting to know the kids and the parents and the community.

"And youth officers as well - we don't have youth officers - so when they see a kid getting into trouble they can intervene, so that we're preventing these kind of things from happening".

She said Ireland should copy Iceland's approach to anti-social behaviour, which it adopted a decade ago.

"Iceland were seeing what we're seeing now... they had the highest levels of youth drug and alcohol abuse.

"They've gone from the highest of 42% down to the lowest of 5%."

"The programme is radical but it's evidence-based and it relies a lot on enforced common sense.

"If we don't do something about this, then we're going to be talking about it next year and the year after.

"They changed the laws: they brought in a new age limit for alcohol - you have to be 20 to buy alcohol in Iceland, they introduced curfews".

She said this would be "part of the solution".

"We've two local Garda stations... and they don't have enough Guards.

"They didn't have enough Guards 15 years ago, and we have huge population growth in this area."

'A million miles away'

The owner of Lifeline Ambulance, David Hall, said he supports these measures - but they are too far away.

"All of the various things that Joan's mentioned I'd love to support and love to happen - but they're a million miles away.

"We need to have personal accountability for those youths, we need to have accountability for their parents.

"Their needs to be a safe environment where people can go out and walk in their communities, can drive in their communities, can go to a train station and go on to public transport and not be hounded by a group of thugs on bicycles.

"These are weekly occurrences, they're in front of everybody in plain sight and I think it's time to call a halt, time to now take decisive action.

"You can't have people standing up on top of cars, intentionally covering their faces, taking action against citizens every day".

And Nicola Byrne, secretary of the Malahide Old Village Residents Association, explained that Malahide Garda station is not manned full-time.

"It closes at 9 o'clock in the evening, and it hasn't been needed because we obviously have Coolock as the nearest main Garda station.

"[This] was adequate except for the last year, which I'll admit is exceptional circumstances.

"This is a pandemic, this is a world in front of us where we have been physically locked in, these kids have had everything taken from them."

Limerick Councillor Liam Galvin has also recently suggested a €50 fine could be docked from parents' salaries or social welfare payments to deal with unruly children.

Raising drinking age and curfews needed to tackle anti-social behaviour - councillor

00:00:00 / 00:00:00

    

Main image: A Garda checkpoint on Victoria Quay in Dublin in March 2021. Picture by: Leah Farrell/ RollingNews.ie

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Anti-social Behaviour Curfew DART Train David Hall Drinking Age Howth Joan Hopkins Lifeline Ambulance Lunchtime Live Malahide Malahide Garda Station Nicola Byrne

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