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Alarming rise in rapes highlights need for opening of new treatment centres – Ó Snodaigh

30 October, 2008 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has expressed concern at a 25% increase in drug related offences in the past three months announced today in the quarterly crime stats. Deputy Ó Snodaigh said while the Minister may claim that an increased emphasis on tackling drug related crime is responsible for the increase there can be no denying that increased availability of drugs is the main contributing factor.

Deputy Ó Snodaigh also expressed alarm at a significant increase in the number of rapes in the last quarter.

Reacting to the publication of the quarterly crime stats today Deputy Ó Snodaigh said, "I welcome the overall decrease in the crime rates particularly in relation to murders. However, it is clear that drug crime continues to rise and murders linked to the drug trade also continue.

"A 25% increase in quarterly drug offences is a significant rise. While some of this may be put down to an increased prioritisation of drug offences on the part of Gardaí there can be no denying that increased availability of drugs is the main contributing factor.

"If the Minister wants to make serious inroads in the drugs crisis then he should double the resources available to the Garda Drugs Squads as Sinn Féin has been advocating for the past two years in our submissions to the annual Garda Policing Plans.

"There has also been an alarming 13% increase in the number of reported rapes over the past three months. While I welcome the overall decrease in sexual offences the figures can only reflect the number of reported offences while the vast majority of sexual offences go unreported. The failure of the state to secure stiff sentences for those who have been convicted of sexual offences effectively discourages other victims of sexual offenders from coming forward to report their ordeals.

"A report in today's Irish Times show's delay's in the opening of two new sexual assault treatment units which were approved funding in budget 2006. In the meantime a third unit in Letterkenny has closed. Today's figures show that these units are urgently needed and the delays blocking their opening must be overcome immediately." ENDS

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