Assaults on the rise in Cork amid calls for more gardaí

Assaults on the rise in Cork amid calls for more gardaí
A Garda heading out on the beat from the Garda Station on Anglesea Street. The city saw 197 assaults causing harm so far this year. Pic; Larry Cummins

Assaults are on the rise in Cork city and North Cork, according to the latest figures from the Joint Policing Committee.

There were 166 cases of assault causing harm in Cork city during the first ten months of last year, along with 656 cases of minor assault.

The first ten months of this year saw an increase in both incidents with 197 assaults causing harm and 782 minor assaults.

Similarly, North Cork also saw an increase in both types of assault cases with 334 last year and 437 this year.

The West Cork division recorded a decrease in assaults this year down from 265 to 224.

The figures come amid calls for more gardaí across Cork divisions.

It was recently revealed that Cork will be allocated 24 additional Gardaí for the Christmas period, as well as eight additional probationary Gardaí on a permanent basis.

However, Cork TD Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire (SF) said this is nowhere near enough amid growing concerns about crime and anti-social behaviour in the city.

"I have raised the issue of Garda resources in Cork with Commissioner Drew Harris on a number of occasions and have made the point that Cork is not getting a fair share of Gardaí,” he said.

“Cork city has only got 2.5% of the Gardaí who have come out of Templemore since it was reopened in 2014 - an appalling figure and far below what we need.” While he said the latest allocation is not enough, Deputy Ó Laoghaire added that it will provide some level of reassurance to the people of Cork in the coming weeks amid growing concerns about crime and anti-social behaviour in the city.

“This it is a step in the right direction, but we need to go much further now,” he said.

“What's needed it to ensure that as many of these additional Gardaí remain in Cork beyond January and that Cork is assured of a strong Garda presence in the coming years.

The call for more gardaí comes amid concerns from city centre traders regarding garda presence in Cork.

A City centre trader who employs 90 staff has said he is paying €8,000 per year to a private security firm because of open drug dealing, theft and threatening behaviour toward his staff during daylight hours.

Kevin Herlihy who, along with his brother, runs three Centra stores in Cork City has said his stores are like “sitting ducks” amid antisocial behaviour in the city centre despite paying out almost €80,000 in rates.

Mr Herlihy told The Echo that his staff at the stores on Patrick Street, Oliver Plunkett Street and Grand Parade — in particular — are dealing with issues of theft daily.

He said they have stopped calling the gardaí to report incidents because the private security firm is quicker to respond to incidents.

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