TÁNAISTE Simon Coveney is seeking an increase of Gardaí in Cork by the end of March and the implementation of Operation Thor in the region to tackle a rise in burglaries.
Carrigaline and Douglas have been the subject of a spate of burglaries in recent months with homes being targeted during funeral and mass times and also between 6pm and 10pm in the evening.
Operation Thor entails a number of preventative and enforcement measures in crime prevention including Garda checkpoints, community awareness and a focus on organised crime gangs based on intelligence.
While a rise in burglaries was experienced for a number of months up to October 2017, in the first two months since the launch of the winter phase of Operation Thor at the beginning of November 2017, the level of burglaries reported decreased by 23% nationally.
Mr Coveney met with Assistant Commissioner for the Southern Region, Anne Marie McMahon, at Anglesea Street Station for a briefing on investigations into Cork burglaries this week.
He said the rollout of the National Anti-Crime Strategy Operation Thor in Cork divisional areas allied with an increase in gardaí could tackle the problem.
“I had a strong briefing from Assistant Commissioner McMahon and also discussed what is needed from Government,” he said.
“What I think is necessary now in the immediate term is a two-fold approach. The first is an increase in Garda numbers in Cork stations, something I hope to see by the end of the month.
“The second response is the implementation of Operation Thor for the Cork region. The timing and targeting of some of the burglaries point to organised gangs from outside the region and Operation Thor has proved effective elsewhere in stopping these gangs,” he added.
Cork Garda numbers have decreased notably over recent years.
Since September 2014, just under 1,600 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána but just 10 have been assigned to the Togher District in Cork.
While Carrigaline was found to be the largest growing town by population in the county in Census 2016, it has one less garda assigned to the local station than in 2009, with just 19 serving a town of almost 16,000 people.
Togher Garda Station has seen numbers drop from 61 to 57, while Bishopstown has had gardaí reduced from 25 to 20. Douglas is served by 20 gardaí, two less than in 2009 - despite having as many as 27 members of the force in 2010 and 2011.