Belfast Telegraph

Calls for garda station to be reopened in Ireland’s crime blackspot

The number of offences recorded in North Inner City was over five times the national average, official crime figures show.

The Dublin North Central garda division had a crime rate of 2,571 offences per 10,000 population (Niall Carson/PA)
The Dublin North Central garda division had a crime rate of 2,571 offences per 10,000 population (Niall Carson/PA)

By Cate McCurry, PA

The Government is facing mounting pressure to reopen a Dublin garda station after it emerged that the north inner city had the highest crime rate in Ireland last year.

The number of offences recorded was over five times the national average, official crime figures show.

The Dublin North Central garda division had a crime rate of 2,571 offences per 10,000 population.

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald said the figures make for “very sobering reading”.

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Mary Lou McDonald queried why the local community policing forum was also closed last year (Liam McBurney/PA)

During Leaders’ questions, Ms McDonald said it was “beyond explanation” why Fitzgibbon Street garda station, which is located in Dublin’s north inner city, has not been reopened since its closure a number of years ago.

Ms McDonald added: “Why are we still waiting for the reopening of Fitzgibbon garda station? It’s still closed and it’s cited in the location that has a five-fold level of crime as against other areas across the state.

“Right across the country, people are experiencing big problems with criminality and anti-social behaviour.

“Towns and villages right across rural Ireland live in fear of burglary and break ins and this has a devastating effect on community and family life, and knife and drug crime is now a daily concern and indeed a daily reality for people living in our cities.

“It’s very sad that encountering crime has become normalised for so many of our citizens because it’s not too much to ask that you can walk safely down your street, it’s not too much to ask that you can sleep soundly in your bed.

“When young people go out to enjoy themselves at night, it’s not too much to ask that they can go out and come home safely.

“The North inner city is home to the very finest of people, the very finest of families and the very finest of communities and they certainly do not deserve to be afflicted and worn down by criminals and anti-social elements.

“The people of the North inner city shouldn’t have to constantly fight for the ownership of their communities. They shouldn’t live under the scourge of criminals who thrive on the misery and fear of families.”

She also queried why the local community policing forum was also closed last year.

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Leo Varadkar pledged to find out why the garda station had not reopened (Liam McBurney/PA)

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar admitted he did not know why the key garda station has not reopened, pledging to find out in the next 48 hours.

He added: “I think it’s worth acknowledging that we live in a country that has a relatively low crime rate, how we’re fortunate, I believe, to live in a country that has a relatively low crime rate compared to other developed countries.”

The inner city also had the highest rate for 11 of the 14 main crime categories, including homicide, sexual offences, assaults, drug crime and public order offences.

Ms McDonald continued: “You may say that you are pulling out all the stops and doing all you can but for people and families who live in the area, what they see is the garda station still closed in the heart of this area and what they know is that their community policing got closed down as recently as June.”

Mr Varadkar said the Government is committed to reopening the station.

PA

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