Murder rate rises 66pc in 2014 as 20 killed
THE murder rate has jumped by 66pc since the start of the year, according to the latest statistics.
Figures compiled by the gardai show there were 20 murders committed between January 1 and April 30.
This compares with a dozen for the corresponding period in 2013. However, 13 of the cases have already been detected by investigating gardai.
A breakdown of the murders shows that firearms were used in seven of them and knives in another six. A further six deaths were the result of physical assaults, while a golf club is thought to have been involved in the remaining incident.
According to a garda analysis of the murders, three were linked to organised crime gangs.
Fourteen of the murders took place in the Dublin region while there were three in the east, two in the northern region and one in the south east.
Senior garda officers said the increase was a cause for concern but pointed out that the toll in the first four months of 2013 was comparatively low.
"Crime figures, and particularly murders, vary up and down during the year and a more accurate assessment of the trends can be established on an annual basis," one officer said.
He said significant progress had been made by gardai in the majority of the inquiries while there were still very active investigations into the undetected cases that had been carried forward from last year, including the fatal shooting of Det Garda Adrian Donohoe, at Lordship credit union car park, outside Dundalk, in January 2013.
The increase in murders represents a blip in recent garda figures with the latest results from the Central Statistics Office showing a fall in 11 of the 14 crime categories over the past year.
These included a drop in serious organised crime and subversive related offences, such as possession of weapons, explosives and drugs. The decreases are being attributed to specific efforts to curb the threats posed in both these categories.