31 December, 2006

Alarmed, distressed, fearful or intimidated anyone?

Let the ASBOs begin…! It is Fine Gael that has me worried, though. Not the individuals themselves who are for the most part charming and pleasant, but the policies. Boot camps and drink tanks are my concern, and of course playing the fear card in politics. It has been done before of course, but let’s not forget about the causes of crime.

I can’t believe that Lucinda has fallen for the idea of military service for young offenders. Captain Billy Timmins TD (a former army man) first mooted the idea, but Lucinda? Please. Of course, Fianna Fáil is at it as well, with Senator Cyprian Brady’s suggestion that we call in the troops.

I did like her quote from Fr Peter McVerry describing St Patrick’s Institution as a place where time is spent “mindlessly walking up and down a dreary, depressing yard with nothing to do except to scheme how to get drugs into the place to kill the boredom.” That’s not 1000 miles away from a description of Leinster House for some of the inmates serving their five years, with the Member’s bar substituting licit for illicit substances.

Gangland crime is a messy business though, as is anti-social behaviour, but I’d like us all to think about how to make prisons rehabilitate, how to reform the Garda Síochána, and how to address the needs of disadvantaged communities in 2007.

My new year’s resolution is to try and keep fear out of the equation, apart of course from the occasional rant about climate change.

I’m ruling out Lucinda’s suggestion for Military service for young offenders in 2007, and I’d like to see the 2001 Children’s’ Act implemented instead... I’d also agree with Michael (for once) on the issue of café bars, better them, than super-pubs with all the atmosphere of an airport Departure Lounge, and I’d say it would reduce the need for drink tanks as well.

May you all have a lively and enjoyable 2007, free from fear!


Anonymous said...

So I presume you would be happy for a young woman to walk the few miles from town to Dun Laoghaire at night on her own?

Ciarán said...

It depends on the circumstances, but the points I'm making are:
1 - I don't think ASBOs will make it any safer for her,
2 - Let's try and create conditions that lead to less young people turning away from society,
3 -Fine Gael appear to have travelled a long way from the ideals of Declan Costello's 'Just Society' in the 1960s, and
4 - We should be wary of using the politics of fear to scare people into voting a particular way

Anonymous said...

Are you not aware that Fine Gael support the full implementation of the Children's Act? the manner in which you phrase your post seems to suggest that their emphasis is solely on punishment.

Ciarán said...

That’s good to know, but the main thread running through the 11 crime posts on Lucinda’s website is that we need:
1 - Military service for young offenders, 2 - more Guards, 3 - on the spot fines, and 4 – ASBOs.

Interestingly, planning offences, a white collar crime for the most part, comes up as a significant issue on those posts, but we haven’t heard anything about boot camps for recidivist offenders there, but that’s another day’s work.

I’d say we’re in agreement over the Local Authority Policing Committees which provide a meeting point for the Guards and the Councils. The Green Party also wants better co-ordination between the Garda Districts and the Local Authority areas, and some identity given to each Division, perhaps along the lines of the ‘Dublin Police Force’ that she proposes.

Anyway, I’m off to do the ground work on my first ASBOs, for the individuals and corporate offenders (including the Guards) who insist on parking on cycle lanes!

Unknown said...

The 'Dublin police force' was an FG proposal prior to the '04 locals so it is hardly as if it is a last minute idea.

I would suggest at ASBO's in the absence of sufficient policing to increase the chances of getting caught are not going to be effective. There again Ciaran, did the GP release figures regarding how we had one of the lowest rates of police per head of population a few months back? Was that scaremongering? And let's face it how often do you as a Green get it in the ear (unfairly I would think) from rural TDs of all shades that you are scaremongering about global warming?

We can work to make the choices of not turning to crime easier for people to make, but having made the choice we can't shy away from the consequences of having to deal with people who are prone to incredible violence and seemingly for no reason at all.

Anonymous said...

In what circumstances would you be happy for a woman to walk back to Dun Laoghaire from town on her own, at night?

Similiarily, what are your proposals to tackle young offenders? Fine Gael are putting forward ideas on restorative justice, full implementaion of the childrens' act, rehabilition centres to teach young offenders skills in a disciplined environment. The New Labour were right, there is no point being hard on crime, without being similiarily hard on the causes of crime. FG are doing both, are you?

Ciarán said...

I’d be happy for a woman to walk back to Dun Laoghaire from town on her own at night if she feels safe in doing so. I’m sure some would feel safe, and others wouldn’t. However I certainly wouldn’t try and sensationalise the issue, as Fine Gael is doing.

On your other question, here’s some of the Green Party’s proposal to tackle youth offenders.

-Ensure the Garda Juvenile Diversion Programme is fully resourced.

- Strengthen the Garda Youth Diversion Projects around the country,

-Make better use of Conferencing (under the Children Act 2001) to bring together the child, his/her parent/s, and other relevant agencies and individuals such as the Gardaí, educational and social services.

-Make better use of Community Sanctions. Community Sanctions support the child in adapting to more constructive behaviour (such as requiring him/her to undergo sport, training or educational activities), offering him/her a mentor or the close supervision of a relative with positive influence, or removing him/her from negative peer or other influences in his/her community.

-Properly resource Community Policing. Community policing successfully operates in many cities throughout the US and the UK, and there are many community Garda in Ireland who have successfully built up effective partnerships with their communities based on trust.
-Use Parental Sanctions. Parents of offending children and young people can be ordered by the court to undergo treatment for alcohol or other substance abuse, participate in a parenting skills course; ordered to pay compensation for offences committed by their children, or bound over to exercise proper and adequate control over their children.

-Fully resource the National Education Welfare Board Officers. The Education Welfare Board has a hugely important role to play in keeping children in school and preventing drop-out and truancy.

Hope that’s of some use,


Anonymous said...

If Lucinda wants to be able to walk home safely at night she'd be better off learning karate than hoping for an improvement from a FG-led government...