Different public bodies need to combine their efforts to invest in Dublin’s city centre and make it feel safer.
That’s according to Dublin Central TD Gary Gannon, who told On the Record incidents like the attack on Talbot Street may continue with proper supports in the city centre.
“If we understand the kind of the background of those young people,” he said. “Where are they coming from, the trauma that they will have experienced generationally in their own life.”
'How much are we investing'
Deputy Gannon agreed trauma does not warrant an unprovoked assault on a stranger, but without considering ways to improve life in the inner city, it will continue to feel unsafe for many.
“What I would like to see is proper penetrative structures,” he said. “How many young people in the north inner city and surrounding area get to go on to university, for example?
“How much are we investing in sport and culture, does everyone has access?
“There’s a local boxing club that’s barely keeping the lights on at the moment.”
The Social Democrat TD said there is no “joined-up leadership” in Dublin to try and fix its social and economic issues.
“When we’re talking about issues of open drug dealing, for example, [Gardaí] will say they can't police what is essentially a health issue,” he said.
“If you talk to local authorities about dereliction, poor street lighting, the decay of the city that leads to the feeling of it being unsafe, they will talk about resourcing and point to the Department of Housing for dereliction.
“What the city needs is some degree of a taskforce.”
Deputy Gannon said a taskforce was previously established for the north inner city – but the “metrics for success were way off” and it did not look at areas such as Talbot Street and O’Connell Street.
He said a directly elected mayor with “executive powers” could work on resolving a lot of these problems.
“[We need] someone who will stand in front of an electorate and say, ‘this is my vision for the city’ and four or five years after that, the city gets to hold that person to account,” he said.
Deputy Gannon also said we need more Gardaí on the streets to provide a “presence” and make people feel safer.
“You go to any other European city, you’ll see people in uniform creating the presence,” he said.
“We’ve fallen below 14,000 Gardaí in the State, but we still have to allocate the provision of Gardaí based on where we need them most.
“I can't imagine a place where we need more Gardaí and a greater presence than in the central part of our capital city.
“People have a right to go into the city centre for whatever purpose they may need and feel safe.”
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