Sunday 19 January 2020

Street pastors needed to tackle street crime and drug addicts, councillor claims

Mannix Flynn calls for 'tough love' and an audit of service providers

Mannix Flynn. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Mannix Flynn. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Sarah Stack

Street pastors are needed to crackdown on drug addicts and trouble-makers terrorising Dublin city centre, it was claimed.

A city councillor said a “tough love” approach is vital to deal with anti-social problems instead of “mamby pamby nonsense” with little or no consequences.

Mannix Flynn called for a 12 step street programme, similar to the AA, with former addicts challenging drug users to wake-up to the carnage and crime being caused and get them clean.

He also wants known shop lifters suspended from parts of the city centre, and an evaluation of drug abuse and homeless services to reveal exactly how many people they have managed to help clean up their act.

“What we have here is a mamby pamby nonsense way of dealing with it,” the outspoken writer turned politician said.

“If you do not say no to these situations, or say a half no to this situation, you have no boundary.

Hundreds of pills were discovered around a children’s playground in an apartment complex in Dublin
Hundreds of pills were discovered around a children’s playground in an apartment complex in Dublin

“We have a boundaryless city where people think they can get away with what they want to get away it.”

Cllr Flynn said he gets hundreds of calls about crime and anti-social from concerned residents in his Pembroke - South Dock constituency.

The New Independent blamed a culture of indifference and a complete breakdown in general respect and in law and order, and said council chiefs need specially trained staff on patrol to work alongside gardai, business, organisations and a team of former addicts who could act as street pastors.

Dublin is Ireland’s crime capital, with an average of 789 offences per 10,000 population in 2012 compared to the national average of 532. It has the highest rates for robberies, theft, drug, and fraud offences. Elsewhere 83pc of the 800 tourists targeted by criminals last year were in Dublin.

“In Ireland we are minimising everything and saying overall everything is good,” added Cllr Flynn, who describes himself as a recovered alcoholic.

“We all know the vast majority of things and people are good, but it only takes a couple of incidents on a consistent basis to undermine it all. Here we have hundreds of them on the streets. It’s colossal.

“We are paying hundreds of millions to the criminal justice system, to the health care system, to the homeless system and to rehabilitation.

“Money is going left, right and centre to deal with this issue and we’ve had no results in 25 years. It’s not working. It’s time to realise that you’ve failed.”

Cllr Flynn said members of the public are afraid to tackle thieves, people injecting drugs or urinating in public for fear of the consequences, while shop workers and residents in the city centre dread getting involved with an issue outside their door, including begging and homelessness.

He maintained society in general, and service providers, are partly to blame because we have all tolerated and facilitated a culture which is now embedded in the city and addicts are not made to be responsible for their own behaviour.

“I’m not suggesting we lock people up, but challenge them. These are people in their 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s, they’re not kids,” he added.

“We need service providers for the homeless and drug takers to step up to this mark and say to their clients you are responsible for this behaviours and the management of your addiction.

“We think it’ll take care of itself, like Garth Brooks and flooding, but it won’t.

“It’s time to clamp down to make the city a safer and better place.

“We owe it to the generations coming up and hanging around that we don’t let them fall in to this kind of way.”

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