Monday 19 February 2018

Scarce resources in border county blamed for high number of assaults

Fianna Fail's Charlie McConalogue offered several explanations for the Donegal statistics
Fianna Fail's Charlie McConalogue offered several explanations for the Donegal statistics

Adam Cullen and Ciara Treacy

A Donegal TD has blamed a lack of garda resources, the border region and alcohol after his county was named as the worst place in Ireland for assaults and threats to kill.

Fianna Fail Deputy Charlie McConalogue has said Donegal faces a number of challenges when it comes to tackling crime.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, he said that garda resources are "incredibly stretched".

"It is no secret that the gardaí are stretched to their absolute limit. When that is coupled with Donegal's unique geography, given its size and the fact that it sits between Atlantic and the border, it can make things very difficult," he said.

Responding to his county's assault rate, which stands at 109 assaults per 100,000 inhabitants, he said that like many regions in Ireland, a key instigating factor was alcohol.

"Like anywhere in Ireland, this is an issue," he said, noting drink-fuelled brawls spilling onto the streets after pubs and clubs close up shop.

"If we are to tackle this issue, we need to see a massive change in the culture of alcohol in Ireland," he added.

Elsewhere, Deputy Lord Mayor of Cork Mick Nugent has expressed his shock at Cork's inclusion on the list.

The rebel county came in 17th place for assaults with 68 per 100,000.

"As a member of the Joint Policing Committee, we thought that the numbers were generally going down," said Mr Nugent.

"There was a fairly shocking assault in the city centre last week. I think Cork is a good place to live but what the public would like to see is a visible presence from the gardaí in the city centre.

"The Government also needs to take on board falling garda numbers. A woman was assaulted by teenagers in the city centre and the gardaí were not able to respond."

Irish Independent

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