Dáil Éireann - Volume 609 - 02 November, 2005

Written Answers. - Public Order Offences.

  509. Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to the continuing problem of anti-social behaviour for residents on Ranelagh Avenue from patrons of a late night premises; if steps have been taken to deal with this problem; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31871/05]

  Mr. McDowell: I have first hand experience of the problem in question and I have taken up the matter with local Garda management on several occasions. I have been assured that the area has received increased Garda attention in the form of patrols. Garda management has been in touch with the proprietor of the premises in question regarding the residents’ concerns which I share.

I am informed that the enforcement of the liquor licensing laws and prevention of anti-social behaviour remains a top priority for the Garda. When breaches of the law are detected offenders are dealt with accordingly through the courts. Operation Encounter is a Garda initiative designed to provide high visibility policing in problematic areas. It was established with a view to dealing effectively with public order issues in the community which occur particularly late at night and the early hours of the morning, when social venues have closed. Garda management keep this initiative under review so as to tailor it to respond to changing circumstances.

Because of my concerns about the abuse of alcohol and its contribution to public order offending and broader social problems, I brought forward tough new provisions to deal with [432] alcohol abuse and its effect on public order in the Intoxicating Liquor Act 2003. One of the provisions is the use of temporary closure orders. The Act broadened the application of the temporary closure order penalty, which had been introduced to combat under-age drinking, to cover also convictions for a series of public order offences, such as supplying intoxicating liquor to drunken persons and permitting disorderly conduct on licensed premises.

The Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 2003 has also been enacted, the main purpose of which is to provide the Garda Síochána with additional powers to deal with late night street violence and anti-social conduct attributable to excessive drinking. It does this by providing for the closure of premises such as pubs, off licenses, late night clubs and food premises, as well as the making of exclusion orders on individuals, in addition to any penalty they might receive under the 1994 Public Order Act.