By Shaun Connolly and Juno McEnroe
TOUGH sounding anti-crime laws were branded a flop by Fine Gael last night after it was revealed just five rowdy venues have been shut down under them.
Waterford TD John Deasy said the "pathetic" number of closure orders issued in the past 20 months showed the Government was not serious about tackling anti-social behaviour.
The measures formed part of the Criminal Justice (Public Order) Act 2003 and were introduced with much fanfare as a way to shut down pubs, takeaways, off--licences and clubs known to attract troublemakers.
However, gardaí have only made six applications for closures under the act, five of which were granted by the courts.
Mr Deasy said: "No senior garda has ever told me they need more legislation. What they need is more people on the beat. That is the best way to tackle crime in this country."
The Justice Department insisted the initiative had not "flopped" and 300 pubs and bars had been temporarily closed under other laws between 2000 and 2004.
"The garda use whatever legislation they feel is best suited," a spokesman said.
Mr McDowell indicated the laws had been effective in reducing violent and public order offences in a letter he sent to Mr Deasy revealing the closure order figures.
Meanwhile, the Green Party’s deputy leader Mary White yesterday declared she would not be intimidated after burning tyres were put outside her door following her stance against anti-social behaviour. She was forced to call gardaí last week after a group set jeep tyres alight and dragged them into her driveway. She recently spoke out against illegal dumping and anti-social behaviour in her Carlow constituency.
The incident happened last Tuesday. Gardaí have promised her they will step up surveillance in the area.