Ceisteanna—Questions Oral Answers. - County Dublin Crime Rate.

65.

asked the Minister for Justice whether the crime rate has increased in Lusk, County Dublin since the strength of the Garda was reduced at that station; and, if so, by how much.

The answer is "yes" but this is subject to clarification as to what is involved. The reduction in strength of Lusk Garda station was combined with a reduction in the area serviced by that station, a reduction which involved the transfer of the Donabate/Portrane area from Lusk sub-district to Swords. Of three gardaí transferred from Lusk, two were transferred to Swords to increase the strength of that station and the third was transferred to the district headquarters. This reorganisation was made on the recommendation of the gardaí themselves in the interests of the better policing of the entire area.

In the reduced area now served by the Lusk station, the number of indictable crimes increased from eight in 1970 to 36 in 1971. Having regard to the substantial reduction in the area serviced by the station and to a number of other factors such as a general increase in crime, it is by no means certain that there is any element of cause-and-effect relationship between the reorganisation and the increased crime in the smaller area, but, on the face of it, it seems that this may be the case and that a review is necessary. In any event, the arrangements for policing the area will be reviewed shortly in the light of the substantial increase in garda strength that is now being effected.

The Minister did not say by how much crime had increased. I have been assured locally that it has increased by 60 per cent. In the course of his reply the Minister said that the reduction was as a result of representations from the gardaí themselves. It certainly was not the gardaí in the station at the time. They were against it and the local people resisted it very strongly, as the Minister will recall.

I am happy to tell the Deputy that he misheard me. In fact, I gave the increase; unfortunately it is not 60 per cent as stated by the Deputy, it is 450 per cent, which is very much more. As I said in my reply, this will have to be looked at again. I am not saying that it was done on the representations of the gardaí but the methods of reorganisation were on their recommendation.