Government decision to oppose fireworks motion is 'a kick in the teeth for communities' - Mark Ward TD
Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Mid-West Mark Ward has called the decision by the Government parties not to support his Community Safety and Fireworks motion as "a kick in the teeth for communities".
The motion was in response to communities being under attack nightly from fireworks, anti-social behaviour and criminal activity.
Teachta Ward said:
“I am disappointed but not surprised that the Government Parties did not support the Sinn Féin motion I tabled on Community Safety and Fireworks. This decision by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party is a kick in the teeth for the communities they say they represent.
“Since as early as June this year our communities have been under attack by a nightly bombardment of fireworks.
“I have been inundated with calls from people in my own area who are experiencing high levels of stress and fear in their homes due to the earlier than normal use of fireworks, increased anti-social behaviour and criminal activity.
“This is exacerbated by cuts to community policing with no community police operating after 7pm. This decision was made in March when Community Gardaí were put on a contingency roster by Commissioner Drew Harris.
“This left our communities feeling abandoned. Fireworks are only a symptom of bigger systematic problems on how our areas are policed. Community Gardaí are not the heavy hand of the law. They are meant to build relationships within our communities and be visible in our areas.
“There is no visibility after 7pm. This needs to be reversed immediately and Community Gardaí numbers brought back to 2010 levels.
“Listening to some Government speakers, they were agreeing with the motion but basically would not support it as it was tabled by Sinn Féin. The Government is playing party politics with people’s quality of life.
“I read out the motion during the debate and invited the Minister to stop me at any time when I said something that she did not agree with. I was not stopped.
“I also invited the Minister to walk around my area at night-time to see for herself how communities have been abandoned by the Government policies. That invitation is still open.
“We are in the run up to Halloween and unless action is taken now, then we could see an unprecedented rise in anti-social behaviour at a time when our emergency services are needed elsewhere.
“Supporting the Community Safety and Fireworks Motion makes common sense, but unfortunately common sense is not something that is very common with Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and the Greens."