Fianna Fail TD for Cork South Central Michael McGrath has expressed alarm at the rise in burglaries in the city and county in the first four months of the year.  According to Garda figures, there were 453 robberies between January and May, with the majority committed in the Togher district.

“These figures are extremely worrying and highlight the need for improved resources in Cork Garda Divisions.  Only last month the Garda Representative Association expressed concern about dwindling Garda numbers after dozens of Gardai retired without being replaced”, commented Deputy McGrath.

“The number of frontline officers patrolling the streets of the city and the suburbs has fallen by 130 over the past five years.  More than 30 members of the force have retired in the past 18 months and none of them have been replaced, and there are fears that as many as 60 officers could retire in the next year.  If this were to happen, it would put an extreme strain on an already stretched service, and would leave communities even more exposed than they currently are.

“Garda resources in Cork city have become so depleted over the past three years that it has led to a surge in robbery, extortion and theft cases.  The most recent CSO statistics reveal these crimes rose significantly year on year.

“What’s worrying about this latest spate of burglaries is that the criminals are actively targeting homes, and the authorities simply do not have the resources or manpower to clamp down on this type of crime.  These break-ins are creating an atmosphere of fear in communities in Carrigaline, Crosshaven, Douglas and Bishopstown, which have borne the brunt of the attacks.

“I’m calling on the new Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to urgently address the issue of Garda staffing and resources in Cork.  Despite the fact that recruitment has recommenced, it will be at least another year before we see any increase in the number of Gardai patrolling the streets.  We need to see investment in the force in Cork to ensure Garda Districts have the manpower and resources to deal with rising crime levels”.