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Concern at how Gardai log domestic abuse cases

By Conor Gallagher

Police in the Irish Republic have been criticised for how they record domestic violence cases after official figures show there were five times more incidents in Northern Ireland last year - which has less than half the population of the south.

The previously unpublished statistics by gardai show officers responded to 5,988 incidents involving domestic violence in 2016. There were 4,640 incidents recorded in 2015 and 3,678 in 2014 when the gardai first started tracking such incidents.

In Northern Ireland, the PSNI recorded 28,811 domestic abuse incidents between October 2015 and September 2016.

During the last Christmas period alone there were 2,656 domestic violence reports to the force. Northern Ireland has nearly three million fewer people than the Republic.

Orla O'Connor, director of the National Women's Council of Ireland (NWCI), said the garda figures seem too low to be reliable.

"I feel they are too low. I would have thought they would be higher. And when you look at the comparative figures in Northern Ireland, I think we do have to question the garda figures," she commented.

A garda spokesman said it would have to examine the apparent discrepancy between the figures.

Ms O'Connor welcomed the fact that gardai have started monitoring the issue and are releasing statistics for the first time. "It's definitely to be welcomed but we would like to see greater reporting by the guards and also a better breakdown of the data," she said.

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