Last week, during oral Parliamentary Questions with the Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, Deputy Broughan raised the matter of the run up to Hallow’een and the increased anxiety of constituents in some areas.  In the past, the festival has been used as an excuse for anti-social behaviour and the creation of general mayhem on estates.  There have also been increased instances of anti-social behaviour on commuter rail lines.

The Minister’s reply stated “With specific reference to the forthcoming Hallowe’en period, I am advised that gardaí will put measures in place in every division, in particular in the Dublin metropolitan region and Border divisions, to prevent and detect the organised importation and sale of fireworks. This work will be carried out through a specifically designed operation, namely, Operation Tombola. The operation focuses also on preventing associated public disorder and anti-social behaviour through the incremental deployment of resources, including the Garda public order unit, to augment local plans as appropriate. A number of strong legislative provisions are available to gardaí to combat anti-social behaviour, including the Criminal Damage Act 1991, the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 1994, the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 2003, and the Intoxicating Liquor Acts 2003 and 2008.”

The Minister went on to say that “The Deputy raised a number of issues, one of which he has raised with me previously, namely, the matter of a Garda station for the Clongriffin-Coolock area. I am advised that An Garda Síochána has had preliminary discussions with Dublin City Council on the possible provision of a site for the development of new facilities in north Dublin. My Department has been informed by Garda management that the question of developing a Garda station in the Clongriffin area will be the subject of further consideration. It is an issue to which we can return as matters develop. Another issue that has previously been raised with me by the Deputy is the need to tackle anti-social behaviour on our rail network. In that regard, I acknowledge the establishment of Operation Twintrack, which sees An Garda Síochána involvement in a new community engagement and rail safety initiative. It involves gardaí travelling on DART, Luas and commuter rail services in the greater Dublin area, in particular in Deputy Broughan’s constituency, to ensure there is a Garda presence at major and busy train stations from time to time.”

Deputy Broughan concludes “I am grateful for Operation Tombola and indeed, Operation Twintrack, aswell, of course, for the work of An Garda Síochána, Dublin City Council and Fingal County Council and, indeed, all of the local community groups and volunteers who work so hard at this period to make the festival of Hallowe’en safe and enjoyable. There is also a special responsibility on business to ensure materials such as pallets and tyres do not end up in the wrong hands. I hope that this Hallow’een will be a safe and enjoyable one for everyone around Dublin Bay North.”