Fianna Fáil’s Spokesperson on Justice Niall Collins has appealed to the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald to walk through Dublin city centre with him to witness the surge in criminal activity and anti-social behaviour.

Deputy Collins was speaking this afternoon during a Dáil debate he raised about the spike in tourist muggings in Dublin.

The Fianna Fáil Spokesperson explained, “More than 700 tourists reported that they were mugged in Ireland last year, with the vast majority of these crimes taking place in Dublin. Most were targeted in broad daylight during the afternoon while sightseeing, shopping and socialising in town and most victims were women aged between 17 and 25.

“This is deeply worrying for a country that relies so heavily on tourism and sells itself as a safe, welcoming, family friendly destination. Sadly the reported figures are just the tip of the iceberg, as many tourists won’t even go through the process of reporting the crime.

“Unfortunately this will come as no surprise to the people who live and work in Dublin and have seen first-hand the surge in criminal activity in the city. They have become all too familiar with the sickening sight of blatant drug dealing and drug related crime on the boardwalk along the Liffey, on the main thoroughfares in town and on public transport through the city. Tourists are exposed to this the minute they arrive in the city centre at any time of the day or night.

“The current Government policy of ignoring the spiralling level of drug related crime in Dublin is not working. The National Drugs Strategy has fallen by the wayside as there is no Minister with special responsibility for drugs and garda resources have been cut to the bone. Dedicated garda drugs units in the city have been slashed while overall garda numbers have fallen dangerously low. There are now 12,799 gardaí on the force, 1,498 of whom are eligible for retirement immediately and 230 members on an incentivised career break. That’s not taking into account the 500 gardaí who are out sick on any given day.

“The reality is that there is a major manpower issue where Dublin policing is concerned. The gardaí are being severely hampered in the fight against crime due to a lack of resources.

“I am appealing to the Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to take a walk with me through Dublin city centre to see for herself the shocking level of crime and anti-social behaviour and the threats facing tourists and Dubliners on a daily basis. The Government cannot continue to bury its head in the sand about this any longer.”