Attacks on chemists at 'crisis levels'
Almost a quarter of Irish pharmacies have suffered violent attacks, with some outlets being targeted by criminals on several occasions.
A knife or gun was used to threaten or injure staff in a fifth of violent incidents. The offences are now at "crisis levels", according to the Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU), with pharmacies the subject of robbery, fraud, shoplifting or raids.
IPU president Daragh Connolly described the findings of its survey as "utterly unacceptable" and "shocking".
"It is difficult enough to run a pharmacy in the current environment without being the target for criminal activity," he said. "This not only has a significant cost factor, but more importantly has a detrimental impact on pharmacy staff."
Mr Connolly hit out at the penal system which he described as a "revolving door", adding that thieves now believed their crimes would go unpunished.