Stephen Donnelly has said that the Budget has answered his call for more Gardaí.
The Fianna Fáil Health spokesperson explained, “I was so worried about the rise in crime rates in Wicklow that I held a public meeting on the issue in Bray last month. That night, I called on the Government to dramatically increase the number of Gardaí on our streets.
“Looking at Budget 2020 it appears that someone was listening, and we shall indeed see an extra 700 new Garda recruits added to the force, as well as an increased Garda budget of €81 million.
“I know that many of the local residents and traders who attended the meeting in the Royal Hotel at the end of September will be very relieved to see that more resources are on their way. They were shocked, as I was, to hear the latest figures from Wicklow’s Joint Policing Committee which showed just how prevalent crime has become in the county. For example, there’s been:
• 36% increase in burglaries now nearly 400 so far this year
• Theft from person (muggings) doubled from 13 to 2
• Theft from vehicles (car break-ins) up 17% to 289
• Theft from shops (shoplifting) up 41% to 425 (mainly drink and perfume taken from chemists and off licences)
• Physical and sexual assault are both up
• Rape up 33% to 12
• Sexual assault up 35% to 35
• Assault causing harm up 26% to 49
• Public order offences up 18% to 180
• Drugs for sale and supply up 57%
“We’re lucky to have such dedicated and hardworking Gardaí. Unfortunately, their numbers and resources have been depleted in recent years. So, despite their hard work, crime figures have been on the rise here. Hopefully the Budget measures announced today will go a long way towards solving that problem, but the fight isn’t over yet. We still need to make sure that Wicklow gets its fair share of the new resources. I have written directly to the Garda Commissioner to explain the urgency for our county to get more Gardaí and I will keep the pressure on until we’re listened to yet again”, concluded Donnelly.