Stronger policing, better support for families

11th December, 2008

Paschal raised the issue of criminal activity in inner city communities in Seanad Eireann. This is his below statement.

“I refer to the murder in East Wall. It is my understanding that a further two people have been arrested in connection with it. East Wall is in my constituency and is a part of Dublin I know very well. I stood on the exact spot where the tragedy took place last Tuesday and know very well how people are feeling about what is taking place at the moment and the sheer despair running through the community.

I take this opportunity to put on the record three truths that must be addressed regarding what is happening in the country. The first is that in many inner city communities the people have no faith in the ability of the Garda to protect them from serious crime. That is a real indictment of where we stand as a society. Yesterday afternoon, two families contacted me to say their homes or property were shot at as well. These people have no involvement in any kind of criminal activity. The only thing they have done is to have a home in a certain area.

The second truth we must face is the fact that there is a serious parenting crisis in our country. There is a very small number of families that have completely abdicated any responsibility for where their children or teenagers are at night or during the day and what they are up to. We can put gardaĆ­ on every corner and lane in the city but unless we tackle that issue, we will not deliver the type of society we seek.

The final and most disturbing truth is that we now find ourselves in the position where some minors – children – are able to get their hands on guns. The horror of this must sink in. We read about this happening in some countries far away, get scared and think it is terrible but it is happening in our own city. Our response to this must be comprehensive and serious. I was sickened to see the Taoiseach point to the tragedy and state that it shows the Government is taking the right action on handguns. It is an important step but it points to how much more needs to be done.

I join with Senator Coffey in calling for a debate on this. I repeat a call from this side of the House that was made a number of months ago that we have a debate on all the different Departments which must make a contribution in dealing with this issue. These are the Departments of Education and Science, Social and Family Affairs and Justice, Equality and Law Reform. Unless each of them plays a part in dealing with this, we will not deliver the kind of society we want to pass to the next generation.”