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  • Northside East

Department responds to station visit criticism  

Tuesday, 11th June, 2019 8:00am
Department responds to station visit criticism  

Senator Catherine Noone (FG) and Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton pictured with Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan during his visit to Coolock last week.

Department responds to station visit criticism  

Senator Catherine Noone (FG) and Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton pictured with Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan during his visit to Coolock last week.

THE Department of Justice has hit back at criticism following Minister Charlie Flanagan’s visit to Coolock Garda Station last week.  

Following two fatal shootings in the area last month the Justice Minister visited the station, where he met with Assistant Commissioner for the Dublin Metropolitan District, Pat Leahy, along with the team at Coolock Garda Station, led by Chief Superintendent Mark Curran. However, some local public representatives viewed the visit as a “publicity stunt”. Senator Aodhán Ó Ríordáin (Lab) described it as “self-serving photo opportunity”. He said it served to underline just how out of touch the Government has become with the communities devastatingly affected by the ongoing violence on the northside of the city. 

"The Minister's visit did not involve a single engagement with community organisations, youth groups, community workers, school principals or any local drugs task force,” he claimed. 

“The Minister also did not extend an invite to local representatives from the council or the Oireachtas. 

"If the Government continue to treat the ongoing gangland feud as a PR box-ticking exercise there will be no improvement in the lives of those affected.”

Senator Ó Ríordáin added: "Ultimately, this Coolock Garda Station photo-op is an insult to local communities.”

Local councillor John Lyons (Independent Left) described the visit as a “publicity stunt and nothing more”.

“I am calling on An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to establish a taskforce for the Coolock area to address the ongoing gangland violence, and the many economic, social and educational inequalities that give rise to such activity,” said Cllr Lyons.  

“We need a task-force established that will be responsible for monitoring the work of the various Government departments, State agencies and community groups that have a role to play in tackling the many problems faced by people in the area.”

A spokesperson for the Department of Justice said that at the meeting in Coolock the gardaí outlined the progress made in the various investigations and also set out actions they had already taken to enhance relationships with the community in the area.

“Minister Flanagan also, on the invitation of his Ministerial colleagues Richard Bruton and Finian McGrath, met with community groups in the Dublin 13 and 17 areas, under the umbrella of the Northside Partnership,” the spokesperson said.  

“The meeting involved representatives of various community initiatives in the Coolock, Darndale and Clongriffin areas, local school principals, local gardaí and local residents.

“The Ministers listened to the concerns of, and suggestions put forward by, the various representatives, covering issues such as education, employment and sport, and they undertook that the Government will give them further consideration. 

“Minister Flanagan outlined the whole of Government approach being taken to policing and community safety under the implementation plan of the Commission of the Future of Policing in Ireland report.”

The spokesperson said that responding to recent violence in the area, Minister Flanagan had stated his intention to visit at the earliest opportunity.

“This planned visit was highlighted by Minister Bruton during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil,” said the spokesperson.

“Arising from these public statements, Senator Catherine Noone (FG) requested to accompany the Minister on his visit.

“It is open to any politician to seek to engage with local Garda management on issues of concern.  

“Minister Flanagan frequently encourages such dialogue and, in particular, the Minister is a strong supporter of local Joint Policing Committees (JPC).”

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