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25 Jan 2022

Victim co-operation key to bringing attackers to court says senior Offaly garda

Victim co-operation key to bringing attackers to court says senior Offaly garda

Birr accused due before Tullamore District Court

IF victims co-operate with gardai the perpetrators of assaults will be brought to court, a senior Birr garda said this week.

Inspector Alan Kerins was commenting on figures which indicated that offences against the person in the Birr Garda District were up 150% in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the same period last year.

A meeting of the Offaly joint policing committee was told there were 25 such crimes in July, August and September this year and only 10 in those three months in 2020.

Inspector Kerins said his figures indicated a total of 24, not 25.

“We have 13 of those.. in court or with the DPP which will hopefully end up in court,” said the inspector.

“We've another four where we have a suspected offender identified and again they will hopefully end up in court.”

He added: “The other seven that are not going before the court or we don't think we'll get before the court, is because we got lack of co-operation from the injured party.”

Cllr Peter Ormond, chair of Birr Municipal District, invited Inspector Kerins to the next district meeting on January 10.

According to statistics presented to the virtual meeting by Sergeant Graham Kavanagh, there were 65 crimes against the person in the Tullamore Garda District in the third quarter of this year, up slightly from 61 last year.

Assaults which caused harm to the victim jumped from 13 to 21 across the whole county and “minor” assaults were also up, from 35 to 54.

“A lot of that is down to the fact that society has opened up over the three months we're talking about,” said Sergeant Kavanagh.

Alcohol and drugs were often involved and in cases of threats to kill, it often happened over social media and was related to family fueds or drug debt intimidation.

The garda sergeant said drug crime was a major issue. “It's the one that affects us all because it's in every community and every town and village and city,” he said.

He believed the detection rate in Offaly was good. In the three months mentioned, there were 11 cases of possession for sale or supply, compared to 15 in the same quarter in 2020, and 19 for what is known as “simple” possession, down from 36 last year.

There was only one case of possession of a firearm in each of the third quarter of both years.

However possession of offensive weapons, which includes knives, went up from five to 10 in Offaly.

There were no cases of burglaries where people were threatened during a break-in but other burglaries had increased and sheds and garages were particular targets.

“Predominantly they're unoccupied dwellings, either rented or under construction, or where people have gone to work now that people are back out in society over that three-month period.”

Sergeant Kavanagh described thefts from vehicles as “one of the most preventable crimes we have” and he urged people to simply take their property out of the car when they are parking and the criminal will simply pass and move on.

Most of bikes stolen were unsecured at houses, in sheds and outside shops and in the six cases of car thefts, the keys had been left in the vehicles in some instances.

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