Report reveals Ireland robbery rise
Robberies in Ireland increased by more than a third in recent months, new figures have revealed.
The latest Central Statistics Office report shows there was also a rise in kidnapping, weapons and explosives offences between April and June. The number of murders, drug importing and gun crimes all fell over the period, but drug cultivation and manufacturing offences almost doubled, to 128.
Fine Gael's Charlie Flanagan said people were right to feel nervous on the streets. The former justice spokesman said: "Ireland has become a far more dangerous place after 13 years of Fianna Fail Government.
"What's more, these figures confirm that Ireland is cultivating a burgeoning drugs manufacturing industry. The profits from this twisted enterprise are fed straight back into the crime gangs which still lord it over far too many parts of the country."
Justice Minister Dermot Ahern admitted he was concerned by the rise in robberies, but insisted efforts were being made to tackle the problem. He said: "An Garda Siochana will continue to develop and implement strategies to target those committing such crimes, which are often carried out against vulnerable members of the community."
The minister also welcomed the fall in all categories of driving-related offences, commenting: "These decreases are reflected in the number of road fatalities to date this year, which shows a reduction of 22 compared to the same period last year. All of us - road users and those responsible for enforcement and promoting road safety - must continue to strive to reduce this figure further."
The CSO report shows there were 12 murders between April and June, down from 15 during the same period last year. Drink-driving offences also fell by almost a quarter to 2,911. Almost 490 individuals were robbed - up 60% on last year - while cash-in-transit robberies were also up. Kidnappings saw an increase, with 24 cases of false imprisonment.
Fraud and deception offences fell by one tenth to 1,165, while there were almost 1,000 crimes relating to weapons and explosives - up by 7%. The report also revealed the number of sex crimes soared by more than 50% to 585 over the period.
The CSO said the increase was down to an ongoing review of all sexual offence allegations reported to the Gardai, which has led to some old offences being reclassified.
Labour justice spokesman Pat Rabbitte said the overall crime rate remained unacceptably high. He said: "Burglaries and robberies are the crimes that impact most severely on ordinary families and can only successfully be combated by a strong visible garda presence on the ground, particularly in those areas where the threat is greatest."