Figures published this week by the Central Statistics Office reveal that there has been a rise in the number of serious assaults, robberies and aggravated burglaries. There has also been a 10% increase in the number of sexual crimes reported to An Garda Síochana.

Reacting to this latest data, Fianna Fáil’s Justice Spokesperson, Jim O’Callaghan TD said, “It is apparent from these figures that there are worrying trends emerging whereby violent crime is becoming a normal feature of society.

“In order to combat effectively this trend the Government needs to establish a strategy in collaboration with An Garda Síochana – one that focuses on early intervention, crime prevention and robust law enforcement.

“Gardaí will also require the resources for this strategy to be properly realised. The Confidence and Supply arrangement committed to increasing the strength of the Gardaí to 15,000 but this is only one element of delivering the necessary resources to Gardaí.

He added, “The data reveals that there has been a significant rise in sexual offences. This may be a result of more victims being willing to come forward and report a rape or sexual offence. However, there is also the possibility that this rise reflects an actual increase in sexual offences.

It s a very worrying trend and there are a number of crucial steps that Government can, and must take, to address this.

“These should include providing detailed training to equip Gardaí to properly investigate and prosecute crimes of this complexity, and better State funding to essential services, such as Rape Crisis Centres.

He concluded, “We also need to conduct vigorous research into the actual incidence of sexual crimes in Ireland. The Government needs to progress this research as an absolute priority.”