The increased Garda presence in the streets of Dublin did not go unnoticed. Law & Politics Editor Michael Keating Dake assesses the state of the controversy.
A recent decision by the Government to approve an increased Garda presence on the streets of the nation's capital has sparked controversy. Following a spate of assaults in the city centre, Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, announced a further €10 million in funding for the Gardaí, and the deployment of more armed response units. Figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) indicate that rates of threats or attempts to murder or assault increased by 7% in the first 3 months of 2023, compared to the first three months of last year, as reported by Newstalk.
The decision has resulted in the Gardaí enjoying a more conspicuous presence on the streets. Some have praised the decision, arguing that increased law enforcement visibility is necessary in order to deter crime and violence.
Others have questioned the necessity of armed police on the streets, arguing that this is a disproportionate and inappropriate allocation of public resources. Green Party TD Patrick Costello criticised the decision, conceding that "more Gardaí on the beat" were needed to address issues on the streets, but argued that the use of armed squads was "excessive," as reported by RTÉ.
The increase in funding, the decision to "enhance" Operation Citizen, and the overall increased visibility of Garda personnel, including armed Gardaí, will have far-reaching implications for the streets of Dublin. The capital currently faces a number of social issues, including rising homelessness levels and a growing housing crisis. In addition to this, many vulnerable and socioeconomically marginalised areas have experienced issues relating to substance abuse, drug trafficking, and gangland crime.
Are you a student who lives/works in town? What do you think of the decision to increase the Garda presence on the streets of Dublin? Has it created a safe or tense social atmosphere? Is this an appropriate use of taxpayer money? What else should the Government do to tackle socioeconomic issues? Let us know at: firstname.lastname@example.org.