Gardai cutbacks create concerns for residents

By Maurice Garvey

A MAN beaten up and robbed on a Palmerstown laneway and another man viciously assaulted at the Suir Road Luas stop in Inchicore had one thing in common – no gardai responded to victims at the scene of the unprovoked crimes.

The incidents are worrying for residents, especially with reports that Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has told Dublin garda chiefs to cut their overtime spend by €23m this year.

Whatfield Road lane lIZ compressor

Lane off Wheatfield Road

On Sunday, January 26, a man was attacked by a gang of five youths in the laneway area of Wheatfield Road.

A neighbour intervened, the gang took off, after taking the man’s phone and wallet – leaving him with a lump the size of a golf ball on his cheekbone.

“I don’t want to get into criticising gardai but it is clear as day, they will prioritise emergency calls instead of community policing,” said Independent Councillor Alan Hayes.

Hayes raised the issue at the local policing meeting last week, four days after the incident was reported.

“Gardai said they arrived but there was nobody on the scene. They couldn’t call the victim because his phone was stolen, but they didn’t call the neighbour who called 999.

“There is a small video clip showing five on one at approximately 6.30pm on a Sunday. I’m not blaming gardai we have but we need them on the street and quicker response times.”

In relation to this incident, Ballyfermot gardai say it is currently under investigation.

Sinn Féin Councillor Daithí Doolan, recently appointed Chair of the Dublin City Council Policing Committee, said the cuts to garda resources in Dublin area are a “direct attack on our communities.”

“It’s wrong. People are picked on, assaulted, a woman’s hair burnt on the Luas, another woman hit by a scrambler at a Luas stop, a person assaulted with bolt cutters in Drimnagh, then you ring the garda, and they say, sorry we have no car, or sorry, can you hold onto the culprit.”

Doolan believes there is a need for a dedicated transport police, albeit acknowledging “flashpoints at Luas stops and along the canal.”

“They are targeting anyone that looks a bit different on the canal, which is rather sinister,” he said.

“We need to increase our gardai. People are frustrated and fearful, that sort of response sends the wrong message to the community.”

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