Gardaí target rising levels of prostitution in residential areas

GARDAÍ are clamping down on prostitution in Dublin’s north west inner city following complaints from local residents and politicians.

Officers arrested 38 people both prostitutes and clients in the area last month alone, new figures show. This compares with a total of 113 arrests in the area for the whole of 2003.

Outraged locals in the Montpelier and Arbour Hill area of the city have been complaining in recent months of incidents in which children and young girls were approached by kerb crawlers.

The increase in prostitution is also being linked with rising drug problems and residents have found used condoms and syringes on the streets.

There are also complaints about a rise in muggings and an increasingly dangerous environment for older people and young children.

However, residents said gardaí were not following up incidents reported to them. At a public meeting on Tuesday night, organised by the Labour party, locals were told two community gardaí had been assigned to deal with the problem.

Garda Paul Tuohy of Bridewell Station told the meeting that the number of arrests in April of this year were equivalent to almost a third of all arrests for prostitution in the area last year.

He said that of the 113 people arrested in 2003, 36 were convicted.

Prostitutes have moved to the neighbourhood due to major roadworks in the traditional red light zone of Benburb Street.

Labour councillor Emer Costello told the meeting that Dublin City Council and gardaí had applied for nine CCTV cameras to be installed in the area in 2002, but that there had been no response to date.

The meeting also heard calls for pimps and clients to be targeted and for the Criminal Assets Bureau to investigate well-known pimps in the area.

More in this section