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Justice Minister Notes Release Of CSO Crime Stats For Q3 2021.

A 48% increase in crimes against the person recorded in the Thurles area in Quarter 3 of 2021.

The Minister for Justice, Mrs Helen McEntee TD, has noted today’s publication of Recorded Crime Statistics for Q3, 2021, published by the Central Statistics Office (CSO). These statistics cover the 12-month period up to the end of September 2021.

Speaking about the latest statistics, the Minister said,

“The latest statistics from the CSO show welcome decreases in many categories of crime. However, we must consider them in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic and the various necessary public health restrictions that have come with that. And while these decreases are to be welcomed, it is important to note the significant increase in reported fraud crimes and recorded sexual offences.

I also note that the statistics once again show an increase in those recorded as driving under the influence of drugs. I would strongly urge anyone considering doing so not to engage in this behaviour over the Christmas and New Year period as it can lead to real tragedy at what should be a special time of year.

Fraud Crime

Today’s CSO figures state that reported fraud offences have increased by 72% in the year to Q3. This increase primarily relates to fraudulent attempts to obtain personal or banking information online or by phone as well as fraudulent use of credit and debit card information.

In October, as part of European Cybersecurity Month, the Department launched a major cybercrime awareness campaign, involving Community Gardaí and Crime Prevention Officers around the country providing information to local communities on how to avoid falling victim to such scams. This included local information events, as well as the normal engagement Gardaí have with their communities. There were also dedicated radio advertisements broadcast nationally as part of the campaign.

The Minister stated,

“As Christmas approaches and more people are shopping online, I encourage people to be mindful and not to respond or give out any personal or financial details.

We have all received some of these strange phone calls and text messages over the last few months. Some of them can be very sophisticated and unfortunately it is easy to be scammed out of significant amounts of money. I encourage anyone who believes they may have been the victim of fraud or scams to contact the Gardaí.”

Sexual offences

Today’s CSO figures also show that the number of recorded sexual offences has increased by almost 10% on the previous 12 month period. This increase may relate to an increase in incidents, increased reporting, better recording or a combination of these.

The Minister said,

“The significant and continued increase in sexual offenses is of particular concern. The No Excuses campaign that my department has been running since 2019 highlights that, as a society, we all have a role to play in preventing sexual harassment and sexual violence. The campaign underpins the message that sexual violence and harassment will not be tolerated. We are currently in the process of developing a further campaign to raise awareness of the meaning and importance of consent.

Through Justice Plan 2021 and Supporting a Victim’s Journey, I am working to reform the criminal justice system at every point in which a victim comes into contact with it, and to help victims and vulnerable witnesses in sexual violence cases.”

To date, a number of key actions have been delivered as part of implementing ‘Supporting a Victim’s Journey’ including: –

  • Legislating for the introduction of preliminary trial hearings;
  • The nationwide rollout of Divisional Protective Services Units (DPSU);
  • The first cohort of staff at a new sexual offences unit in the Director of Public Prosecutions office formally took up their roles in April;
  • Work to advance the training for all personnel who come into contact with vulnerable victims is underway;
  • As part of the Supporting a Victim’s Journey plan, the Department of Justice recently undertook a review of the Victims of Crime and Domestic, Sexual, Gender Based Violence funding in order to ensure that the grants provided by the Department are as effective as possible in supporting victims of crime within criminal justice processes.

The result of this review is that the Department is now in the process of developing multi-annual funding commitments for those organisations providing court accompaniment and other justice-related services. Additional funding has also been allocated to a number of organisations who were identified where additional funding would allow them to provide further services and to increase the geographical spread of support to victims of crime.

This additional funding is separate to increased funding recently announced under Budget 2022 for combatting domestic, sexual and gender based violence and for supporting victims of crime.

The Department has also agreed to the development and delivery of a significant new national survey on the prevalence of sexual violence in Ireland by the CSO. It will look in detail at the experience of sexual violence and abuse for both women and men in Ireland.

Property crime

The statistics show continued welcome decreases in property crime over the course of the Covid-19 pandemic. Burglary was down 36%, Robbery was down 18% and theft was down 20% compared to the previous 12 month period.

Noting the ongoing Winter Phase of Operation Thor, Minister McEntee said,

“This year’s Winter Phase of Operation Thor commenced on 1 October 2021 and will continue until March 2022. This Operation is designed to specifically tackle the increase in the number of burglaries and associated criminal activity that usually occurs in the winter months by undertaking targeted enforcement and preventative activity. This includes the Lock Up and Light Up public awareness campaign encouraging homeowners to protect their homes over the winter months.

I urge the public to please exercise caution and follow the simple crime prevention advice which An Garda Síochána provides to communities at garda.ie/en/crime-prevention/ in order to keep people safe and keep crime numbers low.”

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Minister McEntee Asks People To Consider Career in An Garda Síochána

Minister McEntee encourages people to think about career in An Garda Síochána ahead of new recruitment campaign.

  • Minister asks people in new Irish and minority communities to apply
  • New regulations remove requirement for applicants to be proficient in two languages
  • New Irish language strategy to be launched by An Garda Síochána
  • Vital that An Garda Síochána represents the Ireland of today

The Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD, has today urged people, especially those in minority and new Irish communities, to consider a career in An Garda Síochána ahead of a new recruitment campaign opening early in the New Year.

In line with the Government’s commitment to strengthen and support An Garda Síochána as it protects and serves our communities, a new Garda Trainee Recruitment campaign is due to commence early in 2022.

The last recruitment competition was held in early 2019. Successful applicants are placed on a panel from which they are drawn by An Garda Síochána for training when required by the Garda Commissioner.

The Government has next year committed to the recruitment of 800 extra Gardaí and 400 Garda staff and is dedicated to increasing diversity within An Garda Síochána.

Minister McEntee today urged people, particularly those from new Irish and minority communities, to think over the Christmas break about applying to become a member of An Garda Síochána.

Minister McEntee said:

“As Minister for Justice, protecting communities and supporting victims is my absolute priority, and the Government’s support for An Garda Síochána reflects that commitment.

The greatest strength of An Garda Síochána is its bond with the communities it serves. Our own national life has been greatly enriched by so many new communities of different origin in recent decades.
But significant work is still required across the public sector – not least the justice sector – to make sure our new and minority communities are better represented, as well as to improve gender equality.
I want everyone in our society, such as our African-Irish and Traveller communities, to see members of their own communities serving in An Garda Síochána.

I know Commissioner Harris and all members of An Garda Síochána are dedicated to increasing diversity within the organisation. I have discussed this with the Commissioner and I am very pleased that a vigorous campaign will be launched by An Garda Síochána to encourage as many people as possible to apply.
Our new recruitment campaign provides a great opportunity to increase diversity within the service and I urge people from these communities to seriously think over Christmas about applying in the New Year.”

The Commission on the future of Policing in Ireland noted that diversity is a vital asset to any organisation that seeks to be innovative and adaptable.

The Minister made her comments after she received Cabinet approval this week for new regulations which will allow An Garda Síochána hold the new recruitment competition.

These new Regulations, amending the Garda Síochána (Admissions and Appointments) Regulations 2013, will allow for a broader appeal for service with An Garda Síochána to reflect the increasing diversity of Irish Society.

In addition to technical amendments required to reflect changes in legislation from the Refugee Act 1996 to the International Protections Act 2015, the requirement for applicants to be proficient in two languages, one of which must be English or Irish, is also being changed.

As currently worded, the requirement for proficiency in two languages is acting as a barrier to more diverse recruitment.

Under the amended regulations, proficiency will only be required in one language – which can be English or Irish. This will remove any potential disadvantage for people not born in Ireland who do not have any experience with the Irish language.

An Garda Síochána remains committed to the Irish language and studies in the Irish language will remain part of the Policing BA. A new Irish Language Strategy has been developed by An Garda Síochána and will be launched early in 2022. The Strategy aims to strengthen Irish language services within An Garda Síochána and ensure compliance with statutory language obligations.

The Minister continued,

“I want these new regulations to send out a message and to encourage interest from all communities across Ireland in a career with An Garda Síochána. Of course, An Garda Síochána remains committed to the Irish language and I look forward to its new strategy.
I would also take this opportunity to encourage more women to apply for a career in An Garda Síochána.
In recent years we have made great strides to address the gender imbalance in An Garda Síochána, especially at the most senior levels, but I want to see more women entering the service, as I know they are fully capable and can make such a difference to their local community
“.

An Garda Síochána are working to produce a combined internal and external Equality, Diversity and Integration Strategy in early 2022.

Minister McEntee concluded,

“I welcome the many diversity initiatives being actively pursued by An Garda Síochána. The Intern Programme for Garda Staff, which aims to promote a career in An Garda Síochána among young people from communities traditionally underrepresented in the organisation by offering the opportunity of an internship, commenced on 30 November with the first 26 interns.
I am confident that this scheme will be a huge success and will demonstrate to all communities that there is a place for them in An Garda Síochána.”

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Person Arrested Following Garda Operation In Cashel, Co. Tipperary.

A Garda and Immigration Bureau operation was conducted in Cashel last evening (December 9th).

Officials from the Work Relations Commission; the Dublin based Garda National Immigration Bureau and the Cahir District Immigration Officer, inspected multiple business premises within the Cashel area.

During this joint agency operation, a number of offences were detected.
One person was detained, with Court case to follow.

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Gardaí Seize Cocaine In Clonmel, Co. Tipperary.

This morning, December 7th, 2021, in Clonmel, Co. Tipperary, Gardaí from the District Drugs Unit, the Detective Branch and Regular units conducted a search under warrant, at a house in Clonmel town Co. Tipperary.

Cocaine with an estimated street value of over €2,500 euro was seized during this search operation.

A male in his 20’s was arrested and is currently detained under Section 4 of the Criminal Justice Act 1984.

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Minister McEntee Hosts ‘Virtual National Missing Persons Day’ Event.

The Minister for Justice, Mrs Helen McEntee TD, this morning hosted an online commemorative ceremony to mark the ninth annual national “Missing Persons Day”.

National Missing Persons Day is an all-Ireland day of commemoration, providing an opportunity for family members and friends of missing persons to remember their loved ones and to appeal to the public for any information that might be of assistance to An Garda Síochána.

Speaking at the virtual event, Minister McEntee said,

“While it saddens me greatly that another year has passed and we are not able to come together safely in person on this important day, I know that Missing Persons Day provides families and friends affected by the ambiguous loss of a loved one with comfort, hope and a sense of unity, no matter what the setting.
National Missing Persons Day provides an important platform to raise awareness of Ireland’s missing men, women and children. But it is also about ensuring that Ireland’s missing people are never forgotten.
I would like to encourage people who may have information about one of our missing people to come forward. Any information, even if it appears insignificant or irrelevant, has the potential to be important and valuable to both those investigating the disappearance of our missing persons, and the families and friends of missing persons.
I also want to encourage close family relatives of missing people who have yet to do so to provide a DNA sample for uploading to our national DNA database. The collection and subsequent matching of DNA samples from this database represents a key turning point in the identification of human remains in Ireland and has provided much longed-for closure for an increasing number of families.”

To mark national ‘Missing Persons Day’, an intimate, in-person ceremony is held each year, featuring spoken contributions from affected families, in addition to speeches from the Minister, the Garda Commissioner, and a number of other state or voluntary organisations.

However, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s Missing Persons Day was again marked by an online commemorative ceremony. This year’s ceremony was again compered by Barry Cummins and featured contributions from representatives of the Coroner Service and the Irish Coast Guard.

Addressing a number of recent positive developments in the justice sector, Minister McEntee said,

“In June this year, Minister Humphreys wrote to each coroner in the State, requesting that they send my Department details of all unidentified human remains within their coronial districts. Som 35 of 38 coroners have now submitted these returns, which are being collated by departmental officials and will be shared with the Missing Persons Unit, at the Garda National Protective Services Bureau for analysis.
From 2022 onwards, coroners will be asked to include details of any unidentified human remains reported to them in the preceding year, as part of a new statutory annual return to myself, as Minister for Justice. My Department will provide an ongoing annual update on any new cases to the Missing Persons Unit, to enable Gardaí to follow up with the individual coroners.”

The Minister concluded,

“Finally, I would like to thank all the families who will join us virtually this morning. National Missing Persons Day is first and foremost about the families and close friends of our missing people. This is a day to commemorate your missing loved ones and, today, we remember them with you.”

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