Fine Gael soft on crime and soft on the causes of crime

03 March 2023

Labour justice spokesperson Aodhán Ó Ríordáin said the provisional garda crime figures published today showing an increase in crime highlights the worrying extent of the crime problem in Ireland, and the utter failure of Fine Gael to deliver on its promise to make our communities safer.

Deputy Ó Ríordáin said:

“These figures confirm statistically what many communities have known anecdotally for quite some time – crime levels are continuing to spiral upwards. Fine Gael have utterly failed to invest in Gardaí and tackle the level of crime and anti-social behaviour that is prevalent throughout society.

“The significant increase in fatal road crashes is deeply concerning, increasing by 20% last year. 18 lives were lost on our roads in January 2023 alone. Road fatalities are a devastating blow for any community, leaving utterly devastated families and friends behind.

“Excessive speed is involved in many cases of road traffic deaths or injuries. Fine Gael must commit to increasing the widespread use of speed cameras to act as a deterrent against speeding and to potentially save lives.

“Gardaí responded to almost 54,000 domestic abuse Incidents last year compared to just under 50,000 incidents in 2021 and just over 44,500 in 2020. While it is welcome to see that more people are confident in the system to report this, we must do more to protect victims of this crime, including the introduction of domestic and sexually based violence leave at the full rate of pay.

“Fine Gael must also ensure that there is a refuge centre in every county of the country to support victims of this horrendous crime in their community with their family and friends. They have failed to do so over the past 10 years, but given the increase in incidents highlighted by these figures, it’s clear there can be no further time to waste.

“In addition to this, burglary, fraud, drugs intimidation, sex offences and violent crime remain a significant issue for communities. If we are to significantly reduce crime levels, we need a change of approach and we need Fine Gael to take the Justice portfolio seriously.

“Despite the increase in crime and the lack of targeted Government support to members of An Garda Síochána, Gardaí bravely continue to work in difficult circumstances, responding to crime and protecting vulnerable people in communities, often putting themselves in tense situations. This is evidenced in the increase in assaults on Gardaí, with 18 gardaí injured on duty in January of 2023 alone.

“These crime figures are published at a time when there has been a near nationwide drop in terms of staffing levels in individual stations as well as a decrease in numbers joining the force – dropping to 13,907 in November 2022, from 14,750 in March 2020. It’s time for Fine Gael to explain why the people of Ireland are being left without adequate policing.”

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