Surge in violent crime needs stronger response from Government

Fianna Fáil Seanad Justice Spokesperson, Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee has said that in 2018, violent crime has become normalised in Irish society and that a stronger response is needed from Government. The Fingal based Senator was commenting after a series of violent incidents in communities nationwide.

“In the last 10 days, we saw two shootings in broad daylight within an hour of each other in the north Dublin community of Ballymun.

“In Waterford, a serious assault earlier in the month resulted in the death of a 27 year old victim has been upgraded by the Gardaí to a full murder investigation. On Thursday night, another young man was stabbed to death in Dunmore East just outside the city.

“The use of violence is now part and parcel of everyday life in all too many of our communities. It’s no longer a Dublin issue; violence and violent behaviour has leached into both suburban and rural Ireland.

“It can be dealt with head on if there is a will to do so. We need to ramp up traditional penal measures. We have seen that targeting hotspot areas in the North Inner City can work. In other areas where violent crime is becoming more and more prevalent, a focus by An Garda Síochána on sections of the population, young males between 18 and 39 years of age, is needed. Resources to implement such a campaign are needed both in Dublin and outside of the capital.

“Longer term, the State cannot leave it up to An Garda Síochána. We need to look at the root causes of crime and in particular violent crime. Poverty, including lack of quality housing, inequality, alcohol and drug misuse must all be tackled if the cycle is to be ended.

“A whole-community approach to dealing with violent crime can work. Since 2005, the murder rate in Glasgow has fallen by 60% as a result of the Violence Reduction Unit (VRU). By focusing on the delivering a multi-agency approach that included the health service, addiction support services and job centres, the unit was able to stop the flow of would be violent criminals onto the streets.

“The State has a responsibility to keep its citizens safe. In fact, it should be the primary concern of the State. The horrifying trend of violence becoming the norm requires a new response from the Government.

Senator Clifford-Lee concluded, “Fianna Fáil will support any and all measures that both deal with the short term threat to the safety of citizens and end the cycle of violence in communities up and down the country.”