Burglaries on the rise in south inner city -- gardai

Niall O'Connor

THE south inner city has seen a sharp rise in several areas of criminal activity, senior gardai have admitted.

Burglaries, drug possession and property crime are posing serious threats to businesses and city residents, the Herald can reveal.

And one of the city's largest business groups has warned today that our busiest tourist location is being "deprived" of gardai because too many are "forced" to serve in the Dail.

Temple Bar Traders has described as "disgraceful" the fact that up to 30 officers are stationed in Leinster House on Dail sitting days.

The comments come as figures published by gardai in the area reveal sharp increases in several areas of crime.

There has been a 13pc rise in burglaries in the south inner city in the past 12 months alone, while property crime has shot up by 11pc.

One of the most serious issues facing officers is pick pocketing -- with official figures showing a 78pc rise in incidents -- the largest increase in any area of crime.

The overall figures show that there have, however, been decreases in areas such as public order offences and incidents of criminal damage.

The figures are revealed just days after the Herald reported that a number of Eastern European gangs are responsible for a major epidemic of pickpocketing in Dublin city centre.

Areas particularly affected include the Ha'penny Bridge, Trinity College and Merchant's Arch.

Meanwhile, the respected Temple Bar Traders has claimed that its popular tourist district is being severely affected due to the large number of district gardai being "forced" to serve in the Dail.

Managing director Martin Harte told the Herald that his organisation has established that up to 30 officers are based in Leinster House at any one time.

"Temple Bar, Grafton Street and the surrounding streets are being deprived of gardai because of the staggering number of officers that are being forced to serve in Leinster House. It is nonsensical to have such a large number based there when some 30,000 people visit Temple Bar every single day."

He added: "I think that it's disgraceful that the Irish taxpayers are forced to supply Dail Eireann with de facto private security whilst the garda numbers are being ravaged by a recruitment freeze. The gardai that we have on the streets of Temple Bar are doing a superb job and we should be prioritising these frontline services not turning them into Dail ushers."