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Latest press release from Stephen Donnelly TD, issued on Wednesday, November 4th 2019…
Fianna Fail Health spokesperson Stephen Donnelly has warned that specially trained Gardaí need to be brought into Wicklow to deal with a worrying increase in sex crimes reported in the County this year.
Deputy Donnelly explained, “The latest CSO figures show that 57 sex crimes were reported in the Wicklow Garda Division in the first half of this year. That represents a 23 percent increase on the same period in 2018. “While shocking, these numbers are not surprising to those of us who have been carefully tracking crime levels in Wicklow. Last September, I was so concerned about the escalation, particularly in the heinous sex crimes category, that I held a public meeting at the Royal Hotel in Bray to bring the community together to discuss it.
“Here’s what we know so far, Bray has lost its status as a divisional HQ. That’s now going to be in Wexford Town, which is simply too far away from us. Wicklow has also lost far too many Gardaí over the last few years, and those we do have, don’t have the resources they need. Hardworking dedicated members of the force are being stretched too thin by years of government cuts.
“According to my latest correspondence with the Justice Minister, as of the 31st of October 2019, there were 310 Gardaí assigned to the Wicklow Division supported by 32 Garda staff. As of last Friday ( November 28th) a paltry four extra Gardaí were added to the Wicklow force. Their addition means that 11 Gardaí have now been moved from admin duties in Wicklow to operational duties.
“So what we really need to see now are these extra Gardaí specifically trained to deal with the victims of sex crimes. Immense skill and expertise is needed not to re-traumatise these innocent people and it is absolutely crucial that anyone who is brave enough to come forward is treated with the utmost care.
“The truth is that this kind of training takes both manpower and money. In Budget 2020 Fianna Fáil secured 700 extra Gardaí. I’ve written to the Garda Commissioner making the case for as many of these as possible to be deployed to Wicklow.
“I’ll be pushing in 2020 to get these extra Gardaí on the ground and specially trained to make a difference to vulnerable people who need their help most”, concluded Donnelly.