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Anger at only seven Asbos in five years

GARDAI have handed out just seven Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (Asbos) over the past five years.

Figures released by Alan Shatter reveal that just four orders have been issued by gardai to adults since 2007, with a further three issued to children.

This has prompted renewed calls on the Justice Minister to abandon the system.

But Mr Shatter was also accused of failing to deal with anti-social behaviour, which is continuing to "ruin lives".

Today, a mother of four makes a desperate plea to be moved out of her Dublin city flat where she is living in fear.

Leyana Byrne, from Ballybough, has suffered at the hands of thugs who last year tried to burn down her home.

She told the Herald: "We can't live like this anymore. We're living in fear and I'm begging the authorities to move us for the sake of my children."

In a written response to a parliamentary question by Labour TD Derek Nolan, the Justice Minister admitted that just three Asbos have been issued to children, with four being slapped on adults.

Authorities are opting to issue the lesser sanction of a behaviour warning, which has been issued 2,076 times to children since 2007.

An even lesser sanction -- a 'good behaviour contract' -- was issued on 15 occasions. This is where a child, in the company of an adult, makes a written pledge to refrain from bad behaviour.

Former Justice Minister Dermot Ahern once heralded Asbos as an essential part of dealing with anti social behaviour.

Michael McLoughlin, director with Youth Work Ireland, today described the Asbo as "pretty useless".