Sabina Higgins' favourite designer reveals carjacking terror
Road safety chief Gay Byrne blames garda cutbacks on recent carjacking craze
Road safety chief Gay Byrne has blamed swingeing cutbacks in garda funding for the recent carjacking craze which has hit Dublin.
The veteran broadcaster said the alarming rise in this particularly frightening crime is due to lack of a tangible garda presence on the streets.
"It's a very, very, serious development in this country. It's a new kind of daring by criminals because of the situation we find ourselves in with the lack of police supervision," he said.
"These people are doing these things because the fact of the matter is that the prospect of getting caught is remote - they've become more and more daring.''
Mr Byrne, the chairman of the Road Safety Authority (RSA), said the only way to stem the rise in this particular crime is instilling a "fear of getting caught" in the perpetrator's mind.
"I've been talking about this issue with regard to road traffic laws, but exactly the same applies for violent crime. Putting it bluntly, you need guards on the streets," he told the Irish Independent.
"People had better be careful out there and you've got to take precautions.''
He added: "I tell my own wife to lock the door when she gets into the car, or in any stop situation such as traffic lights.
"Particularly with the beautiful weather, people are driving with both windows open or all windows open.
"That's simply an invitation for these people to have a go; people have to be so vigilant.
"It happens all over the world - but it's in this country now and it's certainly worrying."
His comments come as one of our best known fashion designers, favoured by Irish First Lady Sabina Higgins, became the latest victims of the carjacking craze which has hit Dublin.
Paula Rowan, a high-end glove designer based in Westbury Mall, is a favourite among A-list celebrities including Helen Mirren, Kate Winslet and Elle MacPherson.
But the rising international style star spoke of her terror as a warning to other drivers after a brazen attempted carjack on Pembroke Street in broad daylight.
"Word of warning everyone...some guy opened my car door & tried to hop in this afternoon I was driving up Pembroke Street.. Lock your doors," she said on Twitter last night.
Ms Rowan said the excess materials she had on the floor of her car deterred the would-be car thief from managing to take over her vehicle.
"I'd hate to think what would have happened has I not had all the crap I had on the car seat floor. This type of thing really annoys me and the people that do it," she added.
Her tweet sent shockwaves through the Irish fashion community, with many familiar faces sending their support over social media.
Carjackings have risen so drastically in Ireland in this last six months that Minister Leo Varadkar said he was "very worried" about the jump/
"Carjackings are not something that happen commonly in Ireland, but there have been five in the last couple of months.
Paula Rowan is Ireland's premier glove designer
"I'm going to have to talk to Alan Kelly about it - he's the Minister with responsibility for the taxi industry, and then, as well, I need to talk to the gardaí about it too.
"We have a regular road safety ministerial-level committee that meets every couple of months, and I'm going to ask that it be on the agenda for that."
Meanwhile, Rowan is focusing on her thriving career, which included providing gloves for the Rolling Stones' Ronnie Wood.
Sabina (wearing Paula Rowan gloves) with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle in April