Deputy Broughan recently asked the Minister for Justice and Equality to report on the number of instances of Garda firearms and less than lethal weapons being discharged in each of the years 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019, in tabular form and for a statement on the matter. In a reply to that Parliamentary Question received today, Deputy Broughan was informed that Pepper Spray was used 657 times in 2017, taser was used 34 times and firearms were discharged 6 times that year. In 2018, there were 687 instances of Pepper Spray, 31 instances of use of tasers and 4 discharges of firearms. To date in 2019, there have been 257 instances of Pepper Spray, 8 of tasers and 1 discharge of a firearm. The Minister for Justice and Equality and GSOC did not provide any further information with the breakdown of figures.
I commend my colleague, Deputy Joan Collins, on her tremendous work in bringing forward this motion on the local drug and alcohol task forces. The motion strongly supports the work of the task forces, which are central to the implementation of the Government strategy, Reducing Harm, Supporting Recovery, of 2017. The motion calls on the Government to implement the commitment in the programme for Government to allocate an emerging needs fund; to commit to urgent implementation of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018; to accelerate the work of the Garda asset profilers; to ensure a partnership approach to the new youth scheme; and to conclude the HSE review, among other measures. The Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin amendments are also very welcome.
Today, during Leaders’ Questions, Deputy Broughan has called on the Taoiseach and Fine Gael to ensure that the need for a Garda Station and greater police presence is highlighted with Garda Commissioner, Drew Harris. Deputy Broughan told the Taoiseach that some districts of Dublin Bay North have being suffering greatly from burglaries, car theft and related joyriding, illegal dumping and serious nightly anti-social and criminal behaviour. Deputy Broughan said that while nationally homicides and a number of other crime categories thankfully fell in 2018, there are disturbing rises in several types of crime in recent figures recently presented at the DMR (Dublin Metropolitan Region) North Joint Policing Committee. These include assaults, burglary, criminal damage, thefts, public order incidents and domestic violence.
On Monday morning, I attended the Joint Policing Sub Committee (JPC) meeting of the North Central Area after my usual Darndale information clinics. The JPC was well-attended and informative and I commented on some of the issues around Garda resources during the week in Dáil Éireann. On Monday night, I attended the AGM of the Clontarf Residents’ Association and am examining some of the issues raised. There were excellent briefings on St. Anne’s Park and on proposed works at Clontarf Promenade from CRA Officers.
I welcome the opportunity to speak briefly on the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill 2018. This Bill is the result of a number of events that led to the Government finally promising legislation to allow An Garda Síochána to have access to the industrial relations machinery of the State, namely, the Workplace Relations Commission, WRC, and the Labour Court. Of course, the need for this legislation was very evident and never more urgent than in November 2016 when the so-called “blue flu” was averted at the last minute. While this Bill is a welcome first step, I agree with my Sinn Féin and Labour Party colleagues that An Garda Síochána, whose members are such an important group of workers in our society, should have full trade union rights.
I refer to the criminal procedure Bill. When the Taoiseach was recently in the constituency of my colleague, Deputy Maureen O’Sullivan, I think he told community leaders he was tough on crime and on the causes of crime, which has always been my own policy, even before the Blairites coined the phrase. However, given a recent series of horrendous events during the storm and ongoing serious civil disturbances in my constituency, is it not the case that the Taoiseach is denying An Garda Síochána the level of resources it needs, and is it not therefore the reality that for many communities in this city the Taoiseach is actually soft on crime?
Deputy Tommy Broughan recently asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality if she will introduce legislation to curtail the level of fees being charged by An Garda Síochána to relatives of persons involved in fatal road traffic collisions. In March of this year, we learnt that the families of the eight people fatally injured in a Donegal crash could face bills of up to €10,000 for copies of Garda reports.
Deputy Tommy Broughan received a reply to a Parliamentary Question this week on the number of emergency 999 calls received by the Coolock and Raheny Garda Stations in the period from the 1st of January 2015 to the 1st of July 2016. The reply states that the Coolock District received 16,015 calls during 2015, averaging over 1,300 per month throughout the year. The Raheny District received 11,305 calls during this time, averaging almost 950 per month in 2015.
7. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality the measures she is taking to ensure that An Garda Síochána has sufficient resources to stop gang-related murders and crime; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [10012/16]
Earlier this week, PARC Road Safety Group launched their General Election Manifesto asking for candidates to commit to ten main issues surrounding road safety. One of these is the more efficient usage (and investment) in fit-for-purpose Information Technology Infrastructure which would aid all agencies involved in implementing Road Safety legislation. Deputy Broughan is a long-standing supporter of PARC’s work and has worked with them to ensure that Road Safety improvements are firmly on the agenda in Dáil Éireann and with the respective Ministers responsible for road safety.