In recent weeks this country has seen an unprecedented rise in the incidence of unpremeditated violence on our streets. Does the Taoiseach not accept that the policy pursued by this Government and the previous Government of zero tolerance lies in a complete and utter shambles? Does he accept that the solemn promise made in the programme for Government of a society where all people can feel safe in their homes, businesses and communities is a total sham?
In 2002, the rise in serious crime was more than 22%. There were 1,886 more assaults than in 2001, 16 assaults and nine sexual offences every day in 2002 and 34,000 incidents of public drunkenness. On top of that, there was a solemn commitment by the Taoiseach and the Government to recruit 2,000 extra gardaí, but we got a statement from the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform that this will not happen. Does the Taoiseach accept that, as the head of Government, he is presiding over an absolutely disastrous State in terms of the implementation of law and order and of forming a society where people can feel safe in their communities, businesses and homes? Arising from those statistics, will he tell the House and the country what he proposes to do about this in the interests of having a normal society?