IN PERSON: Reform of Garda Key to Taking on Poverty
Byline: Brian Hayes TD
IRELAND may be booming but poverty is still a major issue.
Fine Gael TD Brian Hayes believes the only way to tackle social issues is to increase the presence of gardai on the groundDO you ever wonder why so many problems in our society appear to be associated with certain areas and communities?
Drugs, crime, poor education and high unemployment are but a few problems today.
The common link between all of these communities is poverty.
It's hard to believe that poverty is still a fact of life for many people in a land that has been through a huge economic boom.
So many have been left behind, although the government keeps telling us we never had it so good.
There are no quick fix solutions to this kind of poverty.
It needs long-term commitment, at the highest political levels and vision to achieve the kind of society that says where you come from will not dictate what chances you have in life.If we want to crackdown on drugs, we need to tackle poverty.
If we want to cut down crime figures, we need to tackle poverty.
If we want to give all our kids an equal chance, we need to tackle poverty.
Poverty and wealth are very similar in one respect - both are often inherited.
In Ireland we now have the resources to halt the scandal where poverty is handed down from one generation to the next.
Central to the elimination of poverty must be readily accessible quality public services, decent affordable housing, well-run local childcare facilities, quality healthcare, education and training, efficient public transport and access to technology.
A real anti-poverty strategy will allow everyone to participate in all aspects of society. No one should be shut out or excluded.
A coherent anti-poverty strategy also means effective policing and tackling crimes with vigour and determination.
People who live in poorer communities suffer more anti-social behaviour, more intimidation and more criminal behaviour than other sections of society. Unfortunately we have allowed a 'ghetto' mentality to exist where some districts have virtually become no-go areas.
Whether the police or politicians like it or not, there is a serious problem of alienation in some urban areas. …