The price of peace: statistics from An Garda Síochána reveal the risks members of the force must deal with daily.

It is common knowledge that occupational hazards are very much part and parcel of choosing an occupation with An Garda Síochána. The first half of the 2010s it seems however, were particularly dangerous years for members of the force.

Figures released from An Garda Síochána’s Freedom of Information office have revealed the number of injuries sustained by members of the force since 2008. Most notable of these statistics are the number of assaults on gardaí and the number of road accidents, which have taken place.

2008 as shown below reveals that the number of recorded assaults on members of the force had begun to see a decrease from 2009 onwards, only to skyrocket in 2013. The figures continue to elevate to just under 300 attacks on gardaí in 2015. Interestingly however, the number eases in 2016 and has reached 153 so far this year.

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On duty members of the gardaí throughout 2010 to 2016 have been involved in a large number of road traffic related accidents, with figures of injuries sustained by gardaí reaching almost 100 per year. 2009 saw a drop by about 22%, only to increase again by another 30% the year after. The trend eases in 2011 to 84, but rises until 2013 to 128 accidents, a spike of 35% in the space of two years.

This current year, however, the figures for recorded road accidents stand at 61.

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Figures from the garda appropriation accounts of 2016 have shown that the number of garda vehicles damaged over the past eight years have risen substantially. While 2008 saw 482 recorded vehicles damaged in the year, both attributable and not attributable to gardaí, that figure has not once decreased since then.

The number of damaged vehicles peaks in 2015 at 682, the closest figures to that being 667 damaged vehicles in 2011 and 639 2012. There has however been a somewhat significant decrease in these numbers last year with the number of damaged vehicles totalling 602, an easing of 11.8%.

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By Henry Phipps

Anti-social behaviour still a problem on Red Line Luas

Red Line Luas users are still subjected to frequent anti-social incidents, despite additional security and Gardaí patrols.

Though that particular Luas line has become infamous in recent years, the frequency with which incidents take place (of which only a fraction are actually reported) is startling.

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Despite regular checks by ticket-inspectors and STT Luas Rail Security officers, the trouble-makers, all of varying ages, continue to wreak havoc upon commuters.

In fact, Luas officials have complained of an increase in the amount of threatening behaviour they have to deal with, as well as a rise in the levels of verbal and physical abuse directed towards them.

Worryingly, racial abuse is a becoming a common occurrence, with slurs directed at both members of the public and Luas employees.

One Dublin-born ticket-inspector, who has worked on both the Green and Red routes and asked not to be named, stated that there was simply “no comparing” the two rail-lines as regards the behaviour of their patrons.

“A lot of them [anti-social Luas-users] have nowhere else to go, and just ride up and down all day making a nuisance of themselves”, stated the Transdev employee, who pin-pointed the inner-city section of the Red Line between Rialto and Connolly as the source of most complaints.

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Although an increase in security presence was made in the wake of South Dublin Central TD Catherine Bynre’s complaints of “inadequate security” early last year, there has been no noticeable improvement, with around 25 incidents being reported to Gardaí every week.

Transdev has stated that the safety and well-being of their customers is of paramount importance as they strive to deliver “an environment for Luas customers that is as free as possible from anti -social behaviour, low-level crime and fear of crime”.

“Anti -social behaviour is rife in society generally and unfortunately Luas is not immune to the challenge which such behaviour throws up”, stated the company.

Combined, the Red and Green lines transported nearly 30 million people in 2012, an increase of 6% from 2011. However, public order offences on the trams also rose, this time by 11%. Nevertheless, the Luas still continues to provide a reliable, affordable and (for the most part) safe method of transport for its customers.

Budget Day met with lacklustre protest

By Greg Synnott, Michael Coleman and Saoirse Ivory

A series of tax adjustments and cuts were announced by Minister Michael Noonan in yesterday’s budget. The City were outside government buildings when the announcement was made.

The €2.5 billion plan included €900 million in additional revenue and €1.6 billion in cuts.

Some of the measures announced by Minister Noonan and Minister Brendan Howlin include:

  • A reduction in jobseekers allowance to €100 per week for under 25s
  • An increase to the price of beers, spirits and cigarettes of 10 cent, and an increase to the price of wine of 50 cent
  • Funding to third level institutions will be cut by €25 million
  • The abolishment of the phone allowance for pensioners
  • The banking sector will now pay €150 million to the  exchequer annually
  • Free GP care will be provided for all children under five
  • Additional jobs will be added in hospitals, schools and An Garda Síochána starting next year, but overall pay will be reduced by €500 million
  • Prescription charges on individual items is to increase to €2.50
  • Tax relief for single parents (who could previously both claim the credit) will be changed to a Single Person Child Carer credit, which only the primary carer will claim
  • A new unified DIRT rate of 42% was introduced
  • Tax relief for medical insurance will be capped at €500 for children and €1000 for adults

Minister Noonan concluded his speech by saying that Ireland is still facing some tough times, but is on the road to recovery.

Meanwhile, outside the Dáil, a surprisingly small number of protesters turned out despite an enormous Garda presence.

Many protesters, who felt the government were targeting the weakest in society, were disappointed by the turnout.

Protester Pamela Hackett gives her view on the Budget
Protester Pamela Hackett gives her view on the Budget

“I’m very disappointed,” said Pamela Hackett, “I thought there’d be a load of people out here.”

Photos: Michael Coleman

Video and Editing: Greg Synnott

Report: Saoirse Ivory

Do you feel safe in a taxi?

For those of us that live in the city, taxis are a vital mode of transportation.

But, when you know nothing about the driver, it can sometimes be an unsettling experience.

Just last week, Gardaí seized a Dublin taxi for forensic examination after a woman claimed that she was raped by the driver.

The woman, who is in her 20s, told Gardaí that the incident happened while she was travelling home from Copper Face Jack’s nightclub.

According to the woman, the driver took a detour to the Phoenix Park where he stopped the car and raped her.

It is understood that he sexually assaulted her near the park’s Wellington Monument sometime after 1.30am.

The woman was later dropped off outside the gates of DCU where she raised the alarm to Gardaí.

Upon being questioned by the Gardaí, the driver, who is in his 40s, denied the allegation, stating that the sex had been consensual.

He said that he had put his phone number into the woman’s phone with the intention of meeting up with her again.

However, detectives believe that the woman may have been too intoxicated to give consent.

Medical professionals have since examined the woman, but no arrests have yet been made.

In light of this incident, Claire Mc Quaid took to the streets of Dublin to find out whether or not people feel safe in taxis.

Video Credits

Reporter: Claire McQuaid

Camera: Anne Stewart 

Production: Jonathan Crean