herald

Saturday 19 August 2017

Special unit to tackle Temple Bar teen gangs

Gardai
Gardai

A major garda operation to clamp down on out-of-control drinking and teen gangs operating in Temple Bar has been rolled out in the city.

As of last night a public safety unit will now be supporting the work of on-the-beat gardai as the problem of teen gangs has escalated in the capital's cultural quarter.

A spokesman for an Garda Siochana last night confirmed the development to the Herald.

"The aim of the operation is to provide intensive dedicated public order policing (not the public order unit) to support normal high-visibility policing with a view to the prevention of anti-social behaviour in the south city centre in the period pre, during and post St Patrick's Day to ensure that the city centre is a safe place to socialise and enjoy, specifically targeting under-age drinking and drinking in public places," said the garda spokesman.

It is understood that teen gangs have been actively organising themselves to meet up within Temple Bar in recent months, which has caused frustration to other members of public.

"There are a large number of public spaces, in close vicinity to both pubs and off-licences in the B District (a garda division south of the Liffey), which also attract a younger element who use these spaces and social media to organise group meetings in large numbers, thereby preventing other members of the public from the use and enjoyment of these spaces," said the spokesman.

"This operation will target alcohol consumption in public spaces for the month of March," he added.

Independent councillor for the area, Mannix Flynn, told the Herald that the move comes from growing concern about the activity of these teen gangs.

"Over the past number of years there's been a growing concern over a gang culture, mainly teenagers, coming into town from the suburbs, gathering in the Temple Bar area and forming sub-groups and then into a main group of up to 80 people," Cllr Flynn said.

"Some are full of alcohol and other substances, and are carrying out anti-social behaviour and criminal behaviour."

The operation has been put in place after a series of meetings between members of the gardai, public officials and local residents and businesses in Temple Bar.

At a meeting on March 9, residents told local councillors and gardai about the massive disturbances these groups are causing them, from graffiti to defecating on the street outside their homes.

hnews@herald.ie

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