11 June 2005

BreakingNews.ie

Pupils march against ASBOs

11/06/2005 - 16:40:56

Hundreds of students and school pupils marched through Dublin city centre today against Government plans to introduce ASBOs.

With Justice Minister Michael McDowell eager to adopt the orders this summer in a bid to end anti-social behaviour on the streets protesters claimed it was an attack on civil liberties.

Around 200 demonstrators paraded along O’Connell Street before holding a rally at the Central Bank and calling on the Justice Minister to abandon his proposal to use ASBOs on youngsters as young as ten.

Rory Hearne, Union of Students in Ireland (USI) deputy president, said it was time for the Government to see sense, abide by democracy and drop the ASBO plan.

“These measures if introduced will seriously impinge on young people’s freedoms and the civil liberties of everyone,” he said.

“The more public pressure we can put on the government then the less likely they will introduce these draconian measures. We are calling on McDowell to see sense, abide by democracy and the drop the proposals.”

Mr Hearne called on the government to tackle the root problem of anti-social behaviour such as inequality in education and the lack of recreational facilities in certain areas.

“ASBOs and other aspects of the Criminal Justice Bill which infringe on our civil liberties will not solve the so-called crisis of anti-social behaviour,” he said.

“The government and some opposition political parties appear to be using this serious issue for reasons of political expediency.”

Organisers claimed 46% of local authorities did not provide playgrounds, while there were twice as many golf courses as playgrounds in the country.

And they said youth clubs were closing because of a lack of funding while alcohol free entertainment venues were virtually non-existent.

Protesters also claimed cross party TDs were backing their campaign. Several Government TDs have expressed their concern at the move.

Hazel Nolan, from the Union of Secondary Students, said anti-social behaviour was a growing problem in Irish society.

But she warned using the orders to clampdown on kids would be seen as a lack of respect and understanding.

“The proposal to introduce ASBOs is a direct sign of lack of respect for young people, and it is hypocritical to presume that respect can exist if it is not mutual,” Ms Nolan said.

“ASBOs are a quick fix to a serious problem and are yet again another example of a reactive rather than proactive government.”

Ms Nolan said the cost of detaining one young person for a year could cover the cost of four youth workers.

“ASBOs and the measures proposed by the Justice bill are a complete abortion of natural justice,” she added.


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