Local Fianna Fáil TD, Darragh O’Brien said Fingal residents are feeling neglected and ignored by Government will having to endure an increase in criminality in the county.
Deputy O’Brien held the first of a series of planned public meetings with Malahide based County Councillor, Eoghan O’Brien last night to discuss the current issues surrounding crime and policing in the region. A number of local senior Gardaí including the Superintendent and Inspector were in attendance.
Speaking following the meeting which over 350 local residents attended he said, “Since 2011, the popularity of Malahide as a wonderful place to live and work has grown exponentially and as a consequence there has been an 8% increase in the size of the local population.
“Over the course of the same period the number of full time Gardaí based in the town dropped from 44 to now just 27. These cuts were coupled with the downgrading of Malahide Garda Station from 24/7 to limited hours of operation. It’s absolutely nonsensical that this poor and inadequate level of Garda resources is allowed be maintained in an area that covers three areas; Malahide, Portmarnock and Kinsealy.
“Residents across the county are all too well aware of the number of ongoing problems related to crime and are becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of Government response. Malahide and the other towns and villages throughout North County Dublin that are dealing with pockets of criminality are fantastic places that should not have to endure this negativity.
“The gangs of thugs that have run amok since October know all too well that local Gardaí do not have the capacity to deal with the fear and problems they are creating for people. As long as they know Garda resources are down, they will likely continue to travel to our area to cause torment and drum up fear.
“The local Garda Superintendent, Gerard Donnelly acknowledged last night that it would take at least 10 more Gardaí than are stationed at present in Malahide for the station to be reinstated as a 24/7 station.
O’Brien concluded, “I will be making sure that the Minister and his Government colleagues are aware that I fully back the campaign to re-open Malahide station 24 hours a day 7 days a week to fully protect the safety of residents.”
It emerged this month that the Dublin Region Homeless Executive’s Mental Health Team, based on Parkgate Street, Dublin 8 have been forced to close referrals to their services due to staff shortages.
Fianna Fáil’s Housing Spokesperson, Darragh O’Brien TD has submitted the matter to the Ceann Comhairle seeking a debate in Dáil Éireann this week.
He said, “This community based mental health access team liaises with homeless agencies in the city to provide suitable care to some of those engaging with homeless services who have become very unwell.
“The absence of this specialist service is a desperate situation. These people are already marginalised and now they are being denied suitable medical care.
“The emotional strain of becoming displaced and homeless exposes people to the risk of developing a mental illness. In 2014, Dublin Simon Community reported that 71% of those engaging with their services had a mental health difficulty.
"Directing homeless people to Emergency Department’s for mental health care is not a solution given they are often turned away because they don’t have an address. This sad fact is also at odds to the Government’s own commitment that no one should be discharged from a hospital into homelessness.
“I am urging the Minister to guarantee that the HSE will put in place resources to re-open referrals and improve access to these services, before it’s too late for some.”
Local Fianna Fáil TD, Darragh O’Brien has said new measures are urgently required to crack down on crime in Fingal and protect the growing number of communities coming under threat by thugs.
Deputy O’Brien was commenting ahead of a public meeting he is holding with Local Councillor Eoghan O’Brien on crime and policing in the locality. The meeting will be held next Tuesday, November 27th at 7:30pm in St Sylvester’s Parish Centre, Malahide.
“As most in our area are more than aware of, there has been a serious spike in criminality in the north county in recent times,” he said.
“When others think of our area they assume Fingal is all a major urban centre, but there are large parts that are essentially rural Ireland. We encounter the same issues with a lack of broadband and are certainly forced to manage with poor Garda resources the same as many other rural communities nationwide.
“The number of Gardaí stationed across Fingal has plummeted by 20% since 2011. The fear and frustration that those cuts have caused was more than apparent at my last public meeting on crime back in May.
“In the almost 6 months since we’re no closer to the re-opening of Rush Garda Station and the station in Malahide is operating on limited hours. Donabate and Portane both have sizable populations but are without any Garda resources whatsoever. Residents across the county and the rural hinterland are all affected - Balrbiggan to Skerries to Lusk. Our capital town, Swords, which has the population the same size of a small city is also badly affected.
“Is it any wonder that lawless thugs are running amok when they know there is hardly any Garda capacity to enforce the law?
He added, “The muggings, serious assaults, burglaries and attacks on farmers all prove that ignoring the seriousness of the crime related issues in our region won’t make them go away; they are only continuing to happen more frequently and with more violence.
“We need to see this Government get tough on criminals, crackdown on repeat offenders and protect communities in the North County at all costs”, concluded Deputy O’Brien.
- Rate of completion for planning decisions within the legal timeframe
has dropped from 64% to 38% in the past 12 months -
Fianna Fáil Housing Spokesperson Darragh O’Brien has stated additional steps are needed to address the rapidly worsening delays in An Bord Pleanála.
PQ Data received by Deputy O’Brien has confirmed that the completion rate for reaching a final decision on a planning application within the 18 week statutory time frame has fallen from 79% in 2016 to 64% in 2017 to 38% of cases currently up to the end of October 2018.
Deputy O’Brien stated, “Under the Planning and Development Act 2000, An Bord Pleanála has a statutory objective to determine planning appeals within 18 weeks. However we are witnessing rapidly escalating delays with the legal timeframe completion rate collapsing by over half over the past two years. This is despite government promises on additional resources being enough to meet the increased workload on the organisation.
“Last week, I raised this issue in the Dáil with the Minister as the mounting delays are becoming more and more evident. I have been contacted by several builders about undue delays that are frustrating their plans to put bricks and mortar in the ground. These lengthening delays are hiking up costs for builders and preventing badly needed homes from being delivered. This, in the midst of a national housing crisis, is unacceptable.
“There are a number of quick measures that the Minister should take to address delays. He should quickly move to expand the number of board members and reduce the quorum for decisions on smaller developments in order to expedite decision making. Additional staff and resources should also be rolled out quickly in order to ensure An Bord Pleanála is fully equipped to undertake its role in addressing the housing crisis,” concluded O’Brien.
The further health of hundreds of Fingal children is being jeopardised while on waiting lists
- 30% of those on waiting lists in the North County have been waiting over two years for assessment by and Early Intervention Team -
“Leaving so many young children awaiting assessment by an Early Intervention Team in North County Dublin is leaving their futures at risk,” said local Fianna Fáil TD, Darragh O’Brien.
The Deputy was commenting having received data through Parliamentary Question this week that reveals over 600 children in North County Dublin are currently waiting for assessment by an Early Intervention Team. A total 267 children are now waiting over a year for an appointment.
“When I questioned the Minister for Health on this matter, I anticipated that the figures would be quite bad but the information I’ve received this week exposes a very worrying situation for hundreds of vulnerable children and their families in the North County.
“To have a child identified in the first instance as needing an assessment appointment for Early Intervention Services must be an incredibly upsetting and fearful time for any parent.
“The fact that their needs are not being met and are in fact being ignored at a crucial time in their development is frightening really. This is especially so when we know and are told by medical professionals that the earliest possible intervention is essential in the longer-term.
“How has it come to pass that in a developed country such as Ireland that it’s accepted that the future health of our children can be jeopardised in this way?
O’Brien concluded, “The State has an absolute obligation to do better by these children. I will continue to demand that these waiting lists are reduced and that the resources are put in place to carry out assessments at a greater pace.”
- Latest Daft report once again shows private rental sector in Ireland is unsustainable -
Fianna Fáil Housing Spokesperson, Darragh O’Brien TD has said that the Rent Pressure Zone System introduced by Government has not worked and has done nothing to slow down the rate of increases in the price of rent across Ireland.
The latest Daft.ie quarterly housing report published this morning indicates that the average price of rent nationwide has risen for the tenth consecutive quarter and has now reached an all-time high.
The average rent in Dublin is now €1,968 per month while the average rent nationwide is currently €1,334.
Deputy O’Brien said, “Often the rental crisis can be wrongly perceived as a Dublin issue but as today’s report shows, the reality is that rent in Cork city and other main Irish cities is creeping up behind prices in the Capital. These increases outside of Dublin are very worrying.
“The cost of rent for graduates coming out of University, those that once emigrated; who are wishing to come home and young professionals is imposing massive stress. I heard from one college course co-coordinator last month that told me of six students in one class that were unable to take up a place to study based solely on the extortionate price of rent.
“This is impacting people’s lives, their livelihoods and their future.
He added, “Trying to manage such a tight budget in the first instance but then to see so much hard earned money be spent in one go on rent each month must be deeply frustrating.
“There are some that dread to see the date come around each month, worried that there will be enough to cover all household bills and rent.
“A whole entire generation have only known the struggle to pay rent to live; they have only known the sacrifices and the immense pressure to save to pay rent and nothing else. The wish to own your own home is entirely out of grasp. It’s just not discussed among friends, it’s off the table.
“Fine Gael’s policies on affordable rent are not working – it’s crystal clear. How much higher can rent go for this Government to act appropriately to finally control the price of rent in this country? , he concluded.