QUESTIONING THE MINISTER FOR JUSTICE – JUNE 11th

This morning, we had another homicide on O’Connell Street. That follows a string of terrible murders in my constituency, the Taoiseach’s constituency and across the northside generally. Nearly two weeks ago I wrote to the Taoiseach, the Minister for Justice and Equality and the Minister with responsibility for communities asking if they were prepared to set up some kind of interdepartmental task force to examine the resources that hard-pressed, disadvantaged communities need, especially those that are deeply affected by serious anti-social and criminal behaviour, including these recent murders. Is that something the Taoiseach would embark on given that it was his party’s Governments that slashed spending and resources to the many community bodies in my constituency over the past eight years since 2011? As he knows, I am a director of a number of those bodies.

It was also very disappointing that when the Minister for Justice and Equality finally came to Coolock it seemed to turn into a Fine Gael type occasion in that no non-Fine Gael representatives were invited to the meeting even though many of us are members of the local joint policing committee. The reality is that Fine Gael is soft on serious crime.

An Ceann Comhairle

Please, Deputy, can we get an answer?

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan

That is the problem we have and the sooner you are gone the better.

Deputy Charles Flanagan

I am very happy to engage with the Deputy at any level here in the House, outside the House or at meetings. I have no difficulty with Deputy Broughan. Many of the suggestions put forward by Deputy Broughan have been helpful to me in dealing with this issue. I was very pleased to act promptly and visit Deputy Broughan’s constituency last week. I am not sure where he was on the occasion—–

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan

I was not invited. Nobody outside of Fine Gael on the political side was invited.

An Ceann Comhairle

Please, Deputy.

Deputy Charles Flanagan

The Minister of State, Deputy Finian McGrath—–

Deputy Michael Collins

No one got an invitation.

Deputy Charles Flanagan

—–who is not a member of Fine Gael, was very active on the ground.

(Interruptions).

Deputy Charles Flanagan

He remains very active on the ground in that constituency.

Deputy Thomas Byrne

It was the same when the Minister went to Drogheda.

Deputy Charles Flanagan

I was very pleased to meet local stakeholders in the areas of education, welfare and community development. A number of important suggestions were put forward. I would be very happy to engage with my colleague, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Deputy Bruton, to ensure what whole-of-Government approach might be taken to what is a very serious issue in that area. I was also pleased to be in the presence of the Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris, in Templemore on Friday last when a number of new gardaí were assigned to Garda stations in Deputy Broughan’s constituency and who have already taken up duty to ensure we can maximise efforts against crime and anti-social behaviour in the Deputy’s constituency.