Fearful Shop Owners Being Told By Gardaí To ‘Take It Up With Drew Harris’

Following on from the appalling incidents in Dublin last week the CSNA have issued a plea for a change to the way gardaí respond to anti-social behaviour in our shops and on our streets. This call was made on RTÉ Morning Ireland (Listen Here) and reproduced in a number of publications see below.

The chief executive of the Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association, Vincent Jennings, said many shop owners are fearful.

“There have to be changes to the way that gardaí respond to calls, that we’re not being told as we are at the moment, ‘take it up with Drew Harris. We don’t have the resources. Go away and get private security.’

“This is from guards who are responding when they finally arrive and people are asking the questions, ‘why didn’t you come earlier? They’ve gone now’ … and they’ve been told to take it up with Drew Harris,” Mr Jennings told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland.

The industry he represented was “perceptive and receptive” whether it was reacting to riots like in Dublin last week or flooding in other parts of the country recently.

Garda cars, a bus and tram were set alight in Dublin on Thursday night, while shops were damaged and looted and officers attacked during violent scenes, which involved far-right elements.

It came shortly after three children and a woman were hurt in the stabbing attack outside a school in the north of the city centre.

While the riots had been “extreme”, Mr Jennings said, similar events with “feral youths” happened on “a very regular basis.”

“There are people who are just running amok. And it most certainly has become much worse in the last two years.”

Mr Jennings said he had spent last Friday morning speaking with members in Parliament Street, Millennium Walk and O’Connell Street to Abbey Street.

Some had been fortunate to have already closed when the riots commenced on Thursday night, but they still had to deal with fearful staff the following morning when there were a number of incidents and gardaí “were not around to assist”.

“Over two hours waiting on O’Connell Street for somebody is not good enough. And it’s a growing problem.”

GDPR was frequently cited as a reason for the reluctance of the gardaí to introduce an initiative already in operation in Belfast where traders shared information, including photographs, he said.

Assaults of shop workers, who had been essential workers during Covid, should be seen as a separate and heinous crime, he added.

In response to reports that Dublin councillors had warned that communities would form vigilante groups, Mr Jennings said that vigilantism was a bad thing.

“There needs to be guards on the street. There needs to be resources given to those guards. They need to be properly trained and adequately trained and trained to respond in an efficient fashion. This is our real moment now to make a difference and to change the way of policing.