McDowell's record: four years of inertia on crime

28 January 2006

by Cllr Joe Costello

The recently published crime statistics for 2005 reveal a sharp rise in serious crime. They show a 46% increase in gangland killings. The incidence of rape has increased by 33%, possession of firearms by 16% and the possession of drugs for supply or sale by 20%. Combined with the rampant problems of alcohol abuse and anti-social behaviour, the outlook for 2006 looks very bleak indeed. The recent crime figures highlight the failure of the present Minister for Justice and the present administration to protect the people of Dublin, their families and their communities. Four years of inertia on the crime front by the Minister has allowed cocaine, the most dangerous illicit drug in the world to come from nowhere and now to be so widely available and “ingrained” in Irish society, according to the National Advisory Committee on Drugs, that the Gardaí are finding it extremely difficult to target it. In October 2004, the Minister for Justice confidently asserted that gangland killings were over – “the last sting of the dying wasp”, he said. A year later, the 2005 statistics reveal the highest number of gangland fatalities in the history of the state. The same Minister has antagonised the entire prison staff through his three year long confrontation on overtime. He has now embarked on a damaging dispute with the entire Garda Síochána by introducing his Voluntary Reserve Garda Force without explanation or consultation. The Minister’s track record is atrocious, his credibility is in tatters. Enforcement officers in the criminal justice system are demoralised and the public at large are in despair of anything effective ever being done It is in this context that this conference on Crime and Policing has been organised. The Mansion House in Dawson Street in the heart of Dublin is the location of choice as it is a symbol of the city and the home of the Lord Mayor the first citizen of Dublin. The voices of the people of the City of Dublin need to be heard loud and clear on the issues of crime and offending behaviour that affect the quality of their lives. This Conference is the beginning of a series of public which will be held throughout the city over the next few months to give every citizen an opportunity to hear and be heard. Too often party policies are the product of a focus group or committee and do not reflect the experiences and views of the ordinary people – the real experts. But policies are useless without the determination to make the hard decisions and the commitment to carry though on their implementation. As times runs out on the present administration, I am determined that the Labour Party will have a radical and coherent policy on crime and policing that is forged and formulated through discussion, dialogue and debate with the people of Dublin City. Your views will not just be hard. They will be listened to and implemented. ENDS