Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 29 Mar 1977

Vol. 298 No. 4

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Limerick Crime Rate.


andMr. O'Malley asked the Minister for Justice if he has received any communications from different bodies in Limerick expressing their dissatisfaction at the dramatic increase in crime in the city; and the proposals he has for strengthening the Garda force in the city.

I have received communications from the president of the chamber of commerce, the director of the Limerick Arch-Confraternity and an individual trader.

The strength of the Garda force in Limerick city has been increased from 215 on 1st March, 1973 to 247 on 1st March this year and the number of police vehicles has been increased in the same period from nine to 15. The policing of any area is kept under constant review to deploy the maximum number possible having regard to the overall demands on available resources. Deputies will be glad to know that the provisional crime figures for January and February, 1977, as compared with the same months last year show a substantial decrease, namely, 411 as against 659. I am sure we all hope this trend will continue.

Is the Minister aware that the number of gardaí available for ordinary crime duty in Limerick now is substantially less than it was four years ago, in view of the fact that there are 56 gardaí full-time on prison duty alone?

I am not aware of the number on prison duty and even if I were I would not make the information available to the House for long-standing security reasons. I am not aware that there are fewer gardaí available to combat crime in Limerick than there were four years ago.

Would the Minister take my word that that is so and that there is a most serious crime situation in Limerick which is causing grave concern to all citizens there?

The crime situation in Limerick is, indeed, a matter of concern but, as the Deputy heard in my reply to the question, the provisional crime figures for the first two months of this year show a substantial decrease over the same two months of last year. This is a very favourable trend and I am sure the Deputy shares with me the hope that it will continue. One has to be careful to make sure that that fact is emphasised lest the reputation of Limerick would be unduly damaged.

Unfortunately, the citizens of Limerick have to live with the situation irrespective of what reputation the city might have. Is the Minister aware that in 14 days at the end of February and beginning of March this year there were 14 major break-ins in the centre of the city alone apart from dozens of burglaries and break-ins in housing estates in the city?

I am not so aware and without casting doubt on the Deputy's figures I prefer to wait until the official Garda statistics are available.

Is the Minister aware that the Garda have informed people who have complained and inquired regarding the crime situation in Limerick that they are so under strength there that they are frequently not able to investigate a crime for perhaps seven days after it has occurred? In the circumstances, would the Minister increase considerably the number of gardaí available in Limerick for ordinary duty as opposed to prison duty because the numbers have decreased considerably over the past four years?

I can understand that there might be occasions when guards would not be able to respond immediately to a crime and that more urgent matters might intervene in the meantime from the time the crime is reported. The Garda in so far as they can will attend to any report as quickly as possible.

A final question, Deputy.

I know they will but is the Minister aware that gardaí and their senior officers in Limerick have stated that they, due to shortage of manpower and to the absence of overtime, are unable even to commence the investigation of a number of serious crimes for, perhaps, as long as seven days after the crimes took place?

We are having repetition. Question No. 4, please.

Does the Minister intend to do anything about it?

Question No. 4 please.

The Deputy can be satisfied that the policing position in relation to Limerick is being kept under continuous review.

We heard that before.


When is the Minister coming down to open the new station for which I bought the site in 1972 or is the Minister going to decline the invitation?

That is a separate question.

I look forward to opening the building.

Next question, please.

When is the Minister coming?

A date has not yet been fixed.

We are deviating.

The Garda and people in Limerick will be very glad to see that long promised building as an actual reality after so many years of false promises.

The Chair has called the next question and should be obeyed by both sides of the House. Question No. 4, please.