Fianna Fáil TD for Carlow – Kilkenny Bobby Aylward says the credibility of the Government has been seriously damaged following the revelation that one in five crimes committed in the state are going unrecorded.

The revelation came to light following a review conducted by the Central Statistics Office into the quality of Garda crime data.

Deputy Aylward commented, “The Central Statistics Office have discovered that one in five crimes reported to Gardai in 2011 didn’t appear as ‘recorded crimes’ on the official Garda crime reporting system. This revelation raises serious questions for the Government considering they have spent the last four years telling us the crime statistics are 100% reliable, despite feedback on the ground indicating otherwise.

“The issue of growing crime rates was something which came up consistently on the doorsteps during the Carlow – Kilkenny by-election campaign. Countless people told me that their communities were experiencing growing rates of crime. These are people on the ground who engage with their communities on a daily basis and are tuned in to what is happening in their locality.

“Their concerns were dismissed out of hand by both Fine Gael and Labour when I raised them over the course of the campaign. The Government pointed to crime statistics to try and claim that serious crime and anti-social behaviour was not an issue in communities across Kilkenny and Carlow. The Government essentially tried to hoodwink people throughout the campaign into believing that crime rates were falling when in fact they were on the rise.

“It’s clear that Gardai are under resourced and cuts made to Gardai in recent years have made it more difficult for Gardai to do their job. This latest revelation reinforces the point Fianna Fáil has been making for a number of years now that serious crime has increased in many areas. If the Government wasn’t so out of touch with communities across the country they would have known that the figures being produced were not reflective of the reality on the ground.

“This review conducted by the CSO highlights an 8% increase in burglaries and an 8% increase in assaults in the year to the end of March 2015. In fact many of the major crime headings recorded an increase and the Government is only now waking up to the reality being faced in communities across the country. There is a clear need for extra resources and it is also very clear now that Gardai are stretched and frontline policing has been seriously hit by regressive cuts. Fianna Fáil’s first priority is restoring the strength of the Garda force to 14,000 if re-elected to Government.

“The Government needs to face up to the reality that our Gardai are seriously under resourced. Manpower has fallen consistently in recent years and the Garda fleet of vehicles has aged considerably. The re-opening of the Garda College in Templemore was a welcome step forward, but the reality is that the amount of new Gardai being taken on does not even cover the number that retire from the force each year” said Deputy Aylward.