Dubliners deserve to feel safe in their own city. We’ve seen a rise in anti-social behaviour on our streets, twinned with an increase in violence aimed at vulnerable groups.

We shouldn’t stand for any of it. I’ll seek a greater Garda presence on streets, but work on longer term solutions to our city’s safety problems.

Below are my ideas on how to do it – you can read my plans on other themes here.

Garda presence

For an immediate response to safety problems, we need to keep pressure on for a clear, visible Garda presence in Dublin. This can have a deterrent effect, but also helps build a perception of safety and calm. From what I have seen on the council, community policing work can be incredibly effective, particularly for issues involving younger people, but the area suffers from community gardaí being moved around regularly before they can become firmly established.

Councillors do not have control over policing, but I would use the platform to continue to seek greater policing resources and targeted work. We had some success in reducing dealing near the Suir Road Luas stop and in Oliver Bond, and that work needs to continue. Policing can only be one component of our city’s response on safety, however, and other measures are needed for long-term change, as set out below.

Lighting our streets

Public lighting is a key part of long-term safety. Its absence in urban areas almost inevitably leads to problems in evenings and at night. Dublin City Council is investing heavily in the shift to more reliable and energy efficient LEDs: these are much cheaper to run, so I would be keen to take any savings to roll out more lighting where it’s needed.

In particular, I would target walking areas (which are often underlit, as motor traffic lighting is often wrongly prioritised), small connecting lanes (such as this one connecteing the South Circular Road to Rothe Abbey) , and along the canal.

Taking needles off our streets

Dublin has faced a heroin problem for decades. We cannot pretend that enforcement or policing is going to resolve the problem. Heroin destroys lives, ruins whole communities, and makes areas unsafe, as needles are dumped on the street – often within reach of children.

We have faced many overdoses on our streets in recent years, as drug potency increases. While I respect those who disagree, I think that Dublin needs medically supervised injection centres, which exist in cities around the world. Despite literally millions of injections taking place, nobody has ever died from an overdose in these facilities: the same cannot be said for Dublin’s streets.

Supporting injection centres is not popular, and I understand why. But I do not see any other solution to overdosing, public injecting and dumped needles. That’s why I was the only local councillor who sent in a supportive observation to Merchant Quay’s planning application for one in 2019, and have spoken frequently in favour of the scheme.

The facility at Merchant’s Quay was intended to be a pilot: I think there should be multiple facilities across the city, to avoid issues with congregation. The facilities work: Dublin is long overdue some.

Community projects

Policing is often a last resort step, with earlier social work interventions stopping crime before it can begin and giving younger people opportunities to set their lives in a better direction.They provide activities, guidance, social outlets and daily ensure that young people’s lives aren’t lost to chaotic behaviour and crime.

That work takes resources: mainly space and funding. Some of that is delivered nationally, but locally the council can offer grants, engagement and space, and I would continue to support the sector in its necessary expansion.

Stand up against hate

I was sickened by the violence we saw in Dublin last year. After a horrendous attack, a riotous torrent of violence and hatred erupted, and gave us a clear sign of a bigoted strand in Irish life that has been growing for years.

I would use my platform as a councillor to stand up against the hate, violence, racism and homophobia that is on the rise across our city and island.

Our city should stand up for clear, progressive, open, inclusive values. Much of that work will be symbolic (as in the motion below), but it will also be practical: supporting integration and togetherness in the communities we represent.