Alarms to repel teens removed from Dublin City Council flats

Department of Justice advises that use of anti-loitering devices may constitute ‘assault’

Concerns about the use of so-called "mosquito alarms" – anti-loitering devices designed to repel teenagers – should be reported to An Garda Síochána, the Department of Justice has said.

The advice follows the removal of the alarms, which emit a constant, very high-frequency noise usually only audible to people under the age of 25, from outside apartment complexes owned by Dublin City Council.

The council had installed the alarms in a public walkway between The Steelworks and the Liberty House flats off Railway Street, close to Connolly Station in the north inner city.

In response to queries from Green Party councillor Ciarán Cuffe, an official at the council’s noise control unit said the alarms were installed by another council department “to deter anti-social behaviour in the area”.


However, while the alarms are not specifically banned, their use could constitute an “assault”, according to the department.

“There is no specific legal provision that outlaws the installation of mosquito alarms,” a spokesman said. “However, section 2 of the Non-Fatal Offences Against the Person Act 1997 sets out the offence of assault and refers to the application of ‘force’.”

Noise is expressly included as being one of the types of “force” included under the Act, he said.

Garda instruction

“The Minister [for Justice] has been informed by Garda management that an instruction issued to all members of An Garda Síochána directs that any complaints received regarding the use of such devices will be fully investigated, with a view to seeking the directions of the DPP.”

“If any person has concerns about the use of such devices in a particular locality, the matter should be reported to the gardaí.”

A spokeswoman for the council said there were now "no active mosquito alarms in any Dublin City Council properties".

Mr Cuffe welcomed the removal of the alarms. “I was disappointed to hear that they were installed by Dublin City Council, and I have asked our staff to consider alternative methods of tackling anti-social behaviour, as mosquito alarms discriminate against young people and are a form of assault.”

He said he intended to seek a ban on the use of the alarms.

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly

Olivia Kelly is Dublin Editor of The Irish Times