Fianna Fáil TD for Wexford James Browne says the latest crime statistics published by the Central Statistics Office (CS) show that the Government is failing to get to grips with crime.

Deputy Browne made the comments after the figures show that there has been a 7% rise in burglaries, 17% increase in sexual offences, 24% increase in assaults and a 77% increase in weapon and explosive offences in Wexford.

Deputy Browne said, “These figures clearly show that Fine Gael are weak on crime. There has been a 25% cut to Garda resources in recent years and this is now being felt on the ground in community’s right around Wexford. How can the Gardaí be expected to crack down on criminals if they are not given the resources to do so?

“It’s time for Fine Gael to face up to the facts and recognise that crime is on the rise here in Wexford. Additional resources are needed to help tackle this problem, but in particular we need to see a modernisation of An Garda Síochána. The pace of modernisation to date has been far too slow and this issue arises as the Government have sought to prioritise other areas.

“County Wexford is particularly short of Sergeants and Inspectors, weakening the ability of the Gardaí to co-ordinate responses to organised crime. This is reflected in the types of crime that are increasing. I have previously called for an increase in the number of Garda supervisory roles and it’s important that this is delivered on.

“Every Garda car should have Automatic Number Plate Recognition to help track and trace criminal gangs. Every Garda should have access to portable hand held devices linked to the PULSE database to allow them carry out background checks on the go. Every Garda station should have access to PULSE and the over-reliance on paperwork needs to be sorted.

“Police forces across Europe have modernised significantly in recent years but the Gardaí have been held back from doing so due to Government inaction. It’s time to bring policing in Ireland into the 21st century and empower Gardaí to do their jobs. These latest crime statistics clearly show the need for this,” concluded Deputy Browne.