Written Answers. - Crime Prevention.

John Gormley

Question:

872 Mr. Gormley asked the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform if his attention has been drawn to attacks, muggings and damage in and around the Christchurch area, Dublin 8; if he will address this problem; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [19434/00]

I am informed by the Garda authorities that from 1 January 2000 to 31 August 2000, the number of crimes committed in the vicinity of the Christchurch area decreased in comparison to the corresponding period for 1999. I am also informed that detection rates also showed an increase over this time.

As the Deputy is aware, the Christchurch area attracts a lot of tourists and, particularly because of the large number of visitors, the Garda is very conscious to ensure that there is efficient and effective policing of the area. I am informed that the Garda has in place a tourist crime strategy whereby both uniform and plain clothes members constantly patrol the area and target known offenders. I understand that these patrols are assisted by specialised units as the need arises, including the divisional crime task force, the special resource units and the drug units. In addition, patrols by the Garda mounted unit and the Garda dog unit are often carried out with a view to ensuring that the Christchurch area is safe for the general public and tourists alike. I am also informed by the Garda authorities that efforts will be maintained to ensure this remains the case.
As the Deputy may be aware, the Garda also has in operation a dedicated tourist victim support service to assist visitors to this country who may have suffered as a result of criminal actions. This service is located at DMA Garda Headquarters, Harcourt Square.
The Deputy may be interested to know that, with regard to the recent assault on a tourist from New Zealand at Christchurch, I am informed that three persons have subsequently been charged arising from this incident.