More than €1.2 million has been spent by Dublin City Council on removing graffiti from city buildings and infrastructure since 2010 according to figures released to Cllr Jim O’Callaghan.
O’Callaghan suggests a greater focus on the use of community service orders under the State’s Community Return Programme so that much of this high expenditure can be redirected to deal with the homelessness crisis in the city.
The Council is currently undergoing a review of its Litter Management Plan with expenditure on graffiti removal a focus.
“The exorbitant cost of removing graffiti is simply too high when Council resources are limited and there’s a chronic homelessness crisis in the city. As part of the current review being undertaken by the Council into its litter management plan I am urging a greater use of the State’s Community Return Programme as a way of reducing the cost of removing graffiti.
The Community Return Programme is a scheme managed by the Irish Prison Service, the Probation Service and the Department of Justice where carefully selected prisoners may be granted reviewable temporary release with a requirement to do unpaid community service work such as graffiti removal in a supervised setting. A prisoner who does not comply with the conditions of his or her release is returned to prison to serve the remainder of their sentence and is not eligible to be considered again for participation in the scheme. Since its introduction on a pilot basis in 2011 there have been approximately 1,150 offenders on the scheme. The results of the Community Return Scheme have to date been extremely positive with almost 90% of participants having successfully completed their obligations or are currently complying with the conditions of their early release,” said Cllr Jim O’Callaghan.