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Wednesday 27 August 2014

Garda chief: rush to violence behind rise in killings

Tom Brady

Published 11/07/2014 | 02:30

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Ms O'Sullivan said the five-year contract was due to expire in four months and everything would be reviewed then
Ms O'Sullivan said the five-year contract was due to expire in four months and everything would be reviewed then

THE head of the gardai has warned that a "rush to violence" has contributed to a rise in the number of killings.

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But Interim Garda Commissioner Noirin O'Sullivan said the rising number of homicides is not attributable to organised crime and many of the murders were carried out in familial circumstances.

She pointed out that 67pc of the murders had been detected but said their main aim was to prevent murders rather than detect them. Appearing before the Public Accounts Committee yesterday, Ms O'Sullivan said the rising number of killings was attributable to "more propensity to violence", including in the family home.

"I think it's more a rush to violence, not just deaths, but serious injuries," she said. "People are not thinking before they act."

She also told the committee that speed cameras around the country's roads are so effective that they cannot pay for themselves.

The privately operated GoSafe mobile camera vans will cost the taxpayer €12m more than expected this year, politicians were told.

Safety

Road deaths dropped 40pc in areas where safety cameras have been installed and 23 lives have been saved, Ms O'Sullivan said. However, the success of road traffic operations means that insufficient fines are being generated to cover the €15m cost of the system.

Initially, it was estimated that the project would pay for itself but now less than a third of the cost is being covered annually.

Since their introduction in November 2010, safety cameras have encouraged motorists to comply with speed limits in zones that had previously accounted for almost one-third of fatal collisions.

But last year the death toll fell by 40pc in those areas, Ms O'Sullivan told the committee.

Motorists keeping to the speed limit improved from 81pc compliance in 2011 to 95pc last January in the targeted areas.

She said the five-year contract was due to expire in four months and everything would be reviewed then.

While she said she did not want to speak about collisions in financial terms, the ESRI had estimated the cost of a fatality at €2.28m and a serious injury at €305,000. The costs over the period from 2000 to 2005 were €4.704bn and €4.659bn, respectively.

The committee heard that the size of the garda fleet remained constant around 2,400 in the past three years. The top priority is to replace vehicles that had reached mileage of 300,000km and this year the force has a budget of €4m to spend

Irish Independent

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