Thursday 25 December 2014

Judge calls for Civil Defence to help fight crime

Tom Brady Security Editor

Published 23/01/2014 | 02:30

Judge Anthony Halpin: warned of a 'total breakdown of social order'
Judge Anthony Halpin: warned of a 'total breakdown of social order'

MEMBERS of a volunteer-based community organisation, the Civil Defence, should be put into the forefront of the fight against crime according to a district court judge.

The proposal was made by Judge Anthony Halpin, who said there was a total breakdown of social order in Tallaght, the sprawling Dublin suburb.

He outlined his views while sitting in Tallaght District Court after the gangland murder of Michael Devoy at the weekend.

The judge told Garda Sgt Bernard Jones: "I am really concerned about public order in Tallaght. We have had so many incidents. We had the killing on New Year's Day and the killing over the weekend.

"I think we might need the assistance of the Civil Defence to assist the gardai. There is a total breakdown of social order that we are going to have to tackle – a total breakdown."

The judge was speaking after criminal Devoy (41) was shot up to four times in the head at the weekend.

Gardai think Devoy, from Balbutcher Drive, Poppintree, Ballymun, was shot dead after a €30,000 contract had been placed on his head on the orders of a major Irish crime figure currently living overseas.

Ballistic tests are continuing on a revolver, which was found by gardai 50 metres away from the spot where officers discovered the body.

Judge Halpin hit headlines earlier this year when he called for a local bridge, where a young man was attacked and later died, to be demolished.

Dale Creighton (20) suffered catastrophic injuries when he was attacked at the footbridge at St Dominic's Road, Tallaght, early on New Year's Day.

Eight people are being prosecuted in connection with the death. At one court hearing, Judge Halpin said: "It presents a danger to the community because any person who finds himself on this bridge is caged in without any prospect of escape and it should be closed immediately."

However, his latest call is somewhat bizarre because the Civil Defence is not used to fight crime.

The Civil Defence was founded in the 1950s as part of the national defence structure to respond to potential hazards that might arise in a war scenario.

But its role since then has altered and it now acts in support of the emergency services as well as carrying out community support activities.

It operates through local authorities to provide assistance in dealing with incidents involving casualties, rescues, major fires and radiation monitoring.

FOOTBRIDGE

But its members are not trained in crime fighting or providing back-up to the gardai to combat disorder.

Garda management said last night it was satisfied that a full and comprehensive policing service was being delivered to the communities in Tallaght and that current structures in place met the requirements of providing an effective and efficient service.

Deployment of resources, patrols and operational strategies for the area were closely monitored, senior officers added, in conjunction with crime trends and local policing needs to make optimum use of garda resources.

Irish Independent

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