Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Vandalism in Dublin.

56.

asked the Minister for Justice if his attention has been drawn to the instances of vandalism in Dublin recently and particularly the damage caused to the Church of Our Lady of Victories, Sallynoggin, County Dublin; and what action he proposes to take to end this vandalism as speedily as possible.

Malicious damage to property is, of course, a criminal offence, and, like all other crimes, is a matter for police action.

Legally, malicious damage is either an indictable or a summary offence depending on whether the damage caused does or does not exceed £50. In the six months ended 31st March the number of such indictable offences in the Dublin Metropolitan Division was 12, in all of which detections were made. In the previous year, out of seven cases, five detections were made. The same pattern of a very high detection rate obtained in previous years.

As regards non-indictable offences, the figures of crimes reported include such matters as damage to electric light bulbs, to fittings in cinemas, to display cases outside shop windows, etc. and, obviously, detections are extremely difficult unless the offenders are caught in the act either by the police or by some other person willing to give evidence. The figures for this type of crime have regrettably been increasing in recent years though the figures for the last six months in the Dublin Metropolitan Division are, as it happens, proportionately a little lower than in the preceding year. Every possible effort is being made to deal with the situation.