Belfast Telegraph

Minister refuses to commit to government-wide plan after Dublin shootings

Charlie Flanagan was visiting Coolock garda station on Tuesday after four men from the surrounding area were killed.

Charlie Flanagan would not commit to a Mulvey-style report (Brian Lawless/PA)
Charlie Flanagan would not commit to a Mulvey-style report (Brian Lawless/PA)

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan has refused to commit to a government-wide plan to tackle crime in greater north Dublin.

Mr Flanagan was visiting Coolock garda station on Tuesday after four men from the surrounding area were shot dead in escalating gangland-linked violence in the last number of weeks.

Acknowledging there is a gangland feud in the area, the minister said he felt it involved less than 100 people.

Mr Flanagan repeatedly called those involved with gangland crime as losers and encouraged young people in the area to “forget about the bling”.

My message to the community is that every effort will be made to ensure that those small number of people who are prepared to engage in unacceptable, illegal behaviour will be brought to justice Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan

“This is an operation for losers and they will be brought to justice,” he said.

He acknowledged “that there is a considerable amount of work to be undertaken across a range of government agencies”, when it was put to him that community groups, formed to encourage young people away from a life of crime and learn new skills, were losing funding, but refused to accept that there was no overall government strategy.

“I acknowledge that there is room for a greater level of activity, an improvement,” Mr Flanagan said.

“I’m here to discuss the situation on the ground with An Garda Siochana and I want to acknowledge successes in recent times.

“My message to the community is that every effort will be made to ensure that those small number of people who are prepared to engage in unacceptable, illegal behaviour will be brought to justice.”

He would not commit to a Mulvey-style cross-agency report, which has been called for by community leaders across greater north Dublin.

The Mulvey Report was aimed at regenerating North East Inner City Dublin, including increased levels of local gardai in the community and a new policing plan, the introduction of training and employment activation efforts and development of specialist hubs for highly-vulnerable families.

The government has been accused of neglect by critics, who point to high levels of poverty in some of the areas around Coolock, Darndale and Artane over a number of years.

Noeleen Reilly, an independent councillor for the Ballymun area in north Dublin, says that her area has seen many ministers visit in the aftermath of crime, but no real changes.

“Every time something happens ministers come out and condemn it, and then they move on and the communities are forgotten about, until the next time,” she said.

“We’ve seen it in Ballymun and Finglas, and now Coolock, and no-one is looking at the route cause of it and how we can stop it.

“Gardai resources were reduced in 2008 and this is the result, this is why we’re in this situation, people have been allowed to get away with crime, and young people are being groomed, as there is very little consequences to being involved in crime that they can see.

“If they want to stem this problem, we need to be looking at a Mulvey-style report, drugs task forces, gardai budgets restored, and serious penalties for people grooming young people into crime.”

Labour Senator Aodhan O Riordain described the minister’s visit as a self-serving photo opportunity.

“Today’s visit by the Minister for Justice to Coolock garda station served to underline just how out of touch the Government has become with the communities devastatingly affected by the ongoing violence in the north side of the city,” the senator said.

“The press event at Coolock amounts to little more than a self-serving opportunity.

“If the government continue to treat the ongoing gangland feud as a PR box-ticking exercise, there will be no improvement in the lives of those affected.

“Minister Flanagan has not listened to calls from elected representatives and community organisations who believe it is now time for a Mulvey report for Dublin 17 and the surrounding communities.

“Ultimately, this Coolock garda station photo-op is an insult to local communities.”

PA

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