Failure of Gardaí to seek juvenile prosecutions 'an absolute disgrace' – Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD
Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire TD has said that it is a clear sign of an appalling systems failure that almost 8,000 young people were not prosecuted, as outlined in the Garda report launched this afternoon.
Teachta Ó Laoghaire stated:
“It is an absolute disgrace and frankly unacceptable that 7,894 reported crimes by more than 3,500 children and young people were not progressed.
"This resulted in some serious crimes being committed where they could and should have intervened at a much earlier stage.
“The review shows that roughly 75% of crimes not appropriately progressed fell into four crime categories: public order, theft, traffic, and criminal damage.
“Although significant crimes, I’m even more concerned that there were a total of 55 serious offences identified, including one rape, one sexual assault and one child neglect case.
“It is incredible and sickening to imagine that someone may have made a complaint to the Gardaí about a serious crime such as a violent assault or a rape, and nothing happened, it is scandalous.
“It is deeply worrying that there was a failure to progress cases regarding 1 child 37 times, as well as the 2,500 cases in which there were multiple failures.
“There were undoubtedly systems failures here, and the Garda Commissioner and the Minister for Justice need to address this, and disciplinary actions need to be considered for Gardaí who failed the victims and the children in question.
“Those responsible have to be held responsible for their actions, but we must look at the chronic under resourcing of the Gardaí, and the consequences of having a force that doesn’t have the tools to perform the functions expected of it.
“Indeed the Commissioner himself stated at the Policing Authority that Divisions which are busier are where you see a concentration of cases not progressed.
“The PULSE network, at least from the outside looking in, seems antiquated, and simply put, not fit for purpose. To say that Garda data and oversight in the last few years has not been great would be an understatement.
“Where a young person is deemed unsuitable for the Garda Youth Diversion Projects (GYDP), it is generally for a very good reason.
"This report is not evidence of a failure of a good system to prevent crime and steer young people away from crime.
“it is also concerning that thus may not be the end of it, and the Chair of the Policing Authority has indicated that there may be additional issues, with similar outcomes for large numbers of children.
“There are also clearly significant resourcing issues, particularly in busy districts. Garda management and the Minister need to address this.