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O’Brien calls on government to address root causes of crime

30 January, 2012 - by Jonathan O'Brien TD

Speaking in advance of an Irish Penal Reform Trust and Community Platform conference later this week on social exclusion and crime, Sinn Féin’s Justice and Equality Spokesperson, Deputy Jonathan O’Brien TD called on the government to address the socio-economic causal factors of crime if they wanted to have a real impact and make our communities safer.

The Cork North-Central TD said: “It is timely that the IPRT/Community Platform seminar is being held this week and I am urging the government to listen to what these community advocates have to say on the issue of social exclusion and crime. Sadly, when it comes to addressing crime, Fine Gael and Labour have been quite happy to continue with the soundbite-friendly but ultimately ineffective gimmicks of which Fianna Fáil was very fond.

“While gimmicks such as electronic tagging may appear tough, they are not real solutions. The hard reality is that we have to acknowledge that there are no quick fixes for crime. Instead we must look at the international evidence of what actually works. Sinn Féin believes that more socially and economically effective solutions are available but this government does not have the political will to apply them.

“What has a demonstrably positive impact on crime levels is providing for community economic development, the elimination of poverty and providing education and employment. Health promotion including treatment for addictions, recreational, programmes that prevent social isolation and alienation and of course the promotion of equality between groups – all have a demonstrably positive impact on crime. 

“The austerity budget this government is inflicting on people is exacerbating social problems and having a demonstrably negative effect.

“Sinn Féin believes that the most effective crime policies – the ones that have the capacity to actually deliver real community safety – focus on prevention. Crime prevention must be the first major plank in our approach to justice policy - dealing squarely with the individual and systemic causes of crime, complemented by other measures proven effective to deter crime. I am calling on this government to end their austere budgetary practices and invest in mechanisms that will have a real impact on addressing crime levels.”

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