Residents in Dublin’s south inner city are “being held hostage” due to ongoing street violence by young people which is occurring almost “every single day”, Sinn Féin TD Chris Andrews said.
Mr Andrews told the Dáil on Wednesday that less than two weeks ago a 13 year old was hospitalised after being stabbed in the City Quay area.
The Dublin Bay South TD said the teenager will make a full recovery, but added it was “amazing that someone hasn’t been killed already when you see the knives and weapons seized by gardaí”.
“It seems to only be a matter of time before some child, some young person, will be killed,” he said. “Then of course there will be a big outcry and we will say that we should have done this or that. The reality is we need something done now.”
Mr Andrews said gangs of young people were “rampaging” and cycling through areas such as Townsend Street, “smashing cars for the sake of it and just because they can”.
He said there were “ongoing daily assaults” of residents in City Quay and those living in Creighton Street, Townsend Street, Dowling’s Court and Lombard Street were “all being held hostage and it is not acceptable”.
Mr Andrews said there were “some local children involved” but the majority “come from quite a distance from the city centre”.
“Action really is needed. If these groups of youths were outside the Minister of State’s [for Law Reform James Browne] house, my house or the Leas-Cheann Comhairle’s house it would not be allowed and it should not be allowed outside the homes of residents in City Quay. No one should have to put up with this particular issue,” he said.
“I accept that gardaí are in a very difficult position in that the profile of the young people carrying out this street violence are almost all children and this obviously brings its challenges. The guards need to be resourced better right across the inner city.”
Mr Andrews said more resources were also needed to be allocated to community development and youth work groups.
“The Mulvey report allocated funding and resources for the north inner city and that has to be replicated in the south inner city because north and south inner city are one community,” he said.
In response, Mr Browne said he had been informed by gardaí that an investigation was ongoing in relation to the stabbing of the 13 year old and he could not comment on the case as it is “an ongoing and live Garda investigation”.
“This Government is determined to tackle anti-social and violent behaviour and is conscious of the effect it can have on the quality of life for local communities, including in Dublin’s inner city,” he said.
Mr Browne said the Minister for Justice will launch the community safety innovation fund in the coming weeks, which will enable local communities to seek funding for “innovative projects that will improve community safety in their areas”.
He said incidents of assault or intimidation were completely unacceptable and the Government wanted people to “feel and be safe, whether they live or work in Dublin city centre or want to visit and enjoy our capital city”.