Check Against Delivery

 

Topical Issue Debate

Wednesday, 03 May 2017.

 

“Crime rates in Kerry have increased at a significant rate (details supplied) in recent weeks, for example on the weekend of the 25th of February there was 6 home invasions in the Muckross, Loughguittane and Glenflesk areas of Co.Kerry by thieves who made their way along a back road out onto the main N22 Killarney-Cork road, thousands of euro was stolen and jewellery, they even went as far as robbing All Ireland Medals from a house. Another incident occurred in Ardfert, Co.Kerry where an elderly man was tied up for hours while a gang of thugs raided his house, a substantial sum of money was taken from the man. Just one more example recently was the sum of €7,000 was netted by thieve who robbed two creches and a residential home in the Tralee area of Co.Kerry, the Minister for Justice is telling people that crime is going down in Ireland, but Ceann Comhairle crime was never as high in Co.Kerry and the above a just a few examples.”

 

REVISED TEXT -  “Increased crime rates in Kerry     

 

- Deputy Michael Healy-Rae

 

A Cheann Comhairle

 

On behalf of the Tánaiste who, unfortunately, cannot be here today, I want to thank the Deputy for raising this very important issue.

 

At the outset, I would like assure the Deputy that An Garda Síochána carefully monitors the activities of criminal groups affecting all areas of the country, including Co. Kerry, and are implementing strong policing measures to disrupt and dismantle their networks.  The Deputy will appreciate that it is the Garda Commissioner and her management team who are responsible for the deployment of Garda resources, including personnel, to specific areas however, the Tánaiste is advised that Garda management constantly monitor the distribution of resources in the light of crime trends and overall policing needs.

 

The Deputy will also appreciate that very significant resources have been provided to the Garda authorities, including an overtime allocation of €88.5 million for 2017, to support large-scale policing operations, including Operation Thor.

 

The scale of Garda activity against burglary and property crime – under Operation Thor - has led to concentrated Garda activity with more than 52,400 crime prevention patrols and in the order of 74,300 targeted checkpoints nationwide. There have also been in the region of 4,400 arrests and 4,900 charges covering a range of offences which, in addition to burglary have included handling stolen property, possession of firearms and drugs offences.

 

In addition, Operation Thor has targeted mobile criminal gangs engaged in burglary and related crimes and it is encouraging to note that since the launch of the operation in November 2015, the burglary figures have shown a significant downward trend.

 

The Deputy will be aware that the CSO official recorded crime statistics for Q4 of 2016 show a decrease in burglary offences of 30% when compared to the previous twelve-month period. This reflects the success of the concerted Garda drive against crime being implemented under Operation Thor. In fact, CSO figures for the Kerry Garda Division show a reduction in Burglary (54%), Theft (20%) and Robbery (55%) for the twelve-month period of 2016 when compared to the same period in 2015 - which parallels the implementation of Operation Thor.

 

As part of the concerted strategy to combat burglary, the Tánaiste has made it a priority to secure the enactment of specific legislation targeting prolific burglars in the Criminal Justice (Burglary of Dwellings) Act 2015. These provisions are now available to Gardaí to support prosecutions arising from Operation Thor. The reduction in the volume of burglaries as a result of Operation Thor will not of course be indicated in the overall detection rate for burglary. 

 

Furthermore, the Criminal Justice (Forensic Evidence and DNA Database System) Act was commenced a year ago and introduced the DNA database, which provides Gardaí with investigative links (’hits’) between people and unsolved crimes, including burglaries. It is anticipated that this will assist in improving detection rates for burglary over the coming years.