Communities in Dublin have little confidence that Ireland’s police can protect them from criminals, a councillor in the country has claimed.
It comes after a number of councillors met with Drew Harris, the Commissioner for the national Garda Síochána police force. Politicians are warning him that he needs to step up policing in the capital or risk losing control.
According to the Irish Times, Green Party councillor Janet Horner alerted Harris to what she said were communities considering forming vigilante groups to protect themselves from “thugs” and Ireland’s “far-right”.
While telling Brussels Signal that she believed the Irish Times had taken her words “out of context to sound a little more dramatic” regarding the “far-right” threat, she insisted that local fears regarding violent gangs in the city were real.
“I have heard members of various communities say that they don’t feel the Gardaí will/are able to protect them from random attacks or deal with the day-to-day criminality they witness in their communities,” she said.
Horner added that while some locals were now discussing implementing their own “patrols” and sharing tips on self-defence, nothing formal had been proposed.
“I don’t expect at this stage that they will seriously press ahead with something like [vigilante groups],” the councillor said.
“But I do think that it demonstrates that people don’t have faith in the Gardaí to protect them at the moment. But more importantly, I think it speaks to a gap in the relationship between local communities and the [police].”
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Horner’s comments come amid a surge in violence and anti-social activity within Dublin city.
Criminality reached a new peak on November 23 following the stabbing of three children outside a primary school in the capital, sparking shock and outrage across the country.
While not playing down the impact of the rioting, Horner said locals appeared mostly concerned about “day-to-day” criminality that had now become “normal” within the city.
The Green Party politician described her constituents as complaining about “bike theft, young fellas behaving threateningly and intimidating people going about their business, petty theft, open drug dealing and drug consumption [and] damage to property”.
She said: “When these things become a pattern, people become very frustrated.” A plan needed to be put in place to deal with such issues, as well as “once in a generation” events such as last week’s riots.
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— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) November 28, 2023