Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin North West, Paul McAuliffe has welcomed the publication of ‘Ballymun – a Brighter Future’ by Andrew Montague.
The report was commissioned by Dublin City Council, following a request by Deputy McAuliffe during his tenure as Lord Mayor. It outlines a plan to tackle the underlying causes of addiction and crime and to tackle open drug dealing in Ballymun.
The Council asked for practical and achievable recommendations regarding a number of significant concerns about drugs and criminality raised by the local community and local agencies in recent years.
The main issues identified were: The surge in the supply and consumption of crack cocaine in the area; The number of young people drawn into criminality and antisocial behaviour; Open drugs markets selling to local people, and to people from outside the area; The lack of adequate policing resources to deal with the serious problems in the area. There is a concern that a new report into the impacts of drugs on the community of Ballymun, could damage the reputation of the community. But the issues are serious and need to be understood and addressed.
The report was commissioned by the then Lord Mayor after calls for a Mulvey style study such as that seen in the North East inner city were rejected by the then Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
Responding to the report, Deputy Paul McAuliffe said: “When elected as Lord Mayor of Dublin I had the opportunity to carry out a significant body of policy research and I had no hesitation in selecting the impact of open drug dealing in Ballymun as the subject.
“I welcome the report and thank the Author Andrew Montague. Andrew was an obvious choice as a resident of Ballymun, former Lord Mayor and Councillor and as Chairperson of the Ballymun Local Drugs and Alcohol Taskforce. On reading this report today I can say we made the right decision.”
Deputy McAuliffe continued: “For those who believe that physical regeneration alone fixed the problems of Ballymun, the report demonstrates how underlying disadvantage, addiction and unemployment has directly impacted on the creation of open drug markets in the area.
“The report clearly outlines actions and recommendations which need to be taken, and as the only government T.D in the constituency, I intend to use whatever influence I have to ensure the actions are delivered. I look forward to working with the relevant agencies, stakeholders and Government departments to ensure the recommendations outlined in this report come to fruition.”
Amongst the recommendations included in the report are for the HSE to Provide 10 Senior Social Work positions to the Child Protection team for Ballymun; For the Department of Education to establish a new programme to work with the estimated 60 young people from 10 years old up, who have dropped out of the education system from the area.; For the Department of Justice to provide more Gardaí for the area and for the probation services to have resources they need to expand the Strive programme, to allow more offenders to be included to cover all of Ballymun.
The report will also be part of a Dublin North West Council Joint Policing Committee meeting at 3pm today.