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Anti-social behaviour, a scourge on communities — O’Toole

15 May, 2007

Sinn Féin general election candidate for Dublin North East, Councillor Larry O'Toole has said that a comprehensive strategy is needed to effectively combat the problem of anti-social behaviour which he said was a scourge afflicting communities across the country. He also said that the failure to adequaely protect communities meant that many decent, law-abiding people had lost faith in the policing and justice system.
O'Toole was speaking at the launch in Dublin of Sinn Féin's propsals on Justice, Community Safety and Drugs, in advance of the general election on 24 May.
Larry O'Toole said:
"The Government's record on justice and community safety is woeful. Instead of concentrating police resources where they are needed most, all they have done is introduce gimmicky Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs) and the Garda Reserve.
"Communities, partcularly in our major cities but also in many towns are now scourged by anti-social behaviour. Intimidation, abuse, car theft, vandalism, public drug-dealing, drunken rowdiness and graffitti are widespread daily expriences which are destroying the quality of life for many.
"People in the areas worst affected see no intention on the part of the authorities to adequtaely deal with the sitituation. The problem is now at such a serious level that many, decent, law-abiding people have lost faith in the policing and justice system.
"Sinn Féin has been active in working with communities at ground level to devise solutions and strategies to deal with this problem. We want to build on this work.
"In government Sinn Féin would implement a comprehensive strategy to effectively combat anti-social behaviour. This would include robust law enforcement to deal with offenders involved in what is clearly criminal behaviour.
"We would also ensure visible and locally accountable community policing which is key to tackling this issue and which communities have been crying out for over many years now.
"We would also ensure systematic social investment in those marginalised areas worst hit by problems of anti-social behaviour, drugs and crime. We propose, early intervention and support services for those at risk of offending, effective rehabilitation programmes and post-prison release suprevision, and community restorative justice alternatives for most non-violent offenders.
"Sinn Féin activists and representatives, through our work in commnities across this country over many years have an unparalleled understanding of these issues. Our concillors and TDs have raised these matters continuously and have given voice to communities which previously felt unheard. We are commited to making the issue a key priority in government and, working with the people, we want to deliver real solutions."ENDS

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