Earlier this month a man in Dublin was left in a critical condition after he was allegedly attacked by a gang of teenagers.
The incident sparked debate about the level of anti-social behaviour in the nation’s capital with independent Councillor Mannix Flynn telling The Pat Kenny Show that society needed to do more to more on the issue of “educating our children to respect law and order”.
However, Fine Gael’s Barry Ward, who works as a barrister and a senator, said that while crime certainly exists in Dublin, it is far safer than comparative cities.
“If you look at any metric of policing or the level of safety in a large capital city like Dublin, it compares incredibly favourably to any city in Europe,” Senator Ward said.
“I can’t think of any capital city in Europe that is as safe as Dublin is - which is not to say that Dublin doesn’t have problems, it’s not to say there isn’t criminality, it’s not to say that people don’t from time to time feel unsafe and with justification.
“What we need to do is deal with that but also to put it in context of the fact that on any metric we are still safer than most places.”
Eurostat does note that Ireland has a lower rate of police recorded offences than other European countries. In 2020 there were 28.3 offences reported to Gardaí per 100,000 people - lower than the EU average of 40.8.
Methods of recording and classification of offences varies greatly across the continent but Ireland still has a higher crime rate than a number of other countries - such as Denmark, Norway and Switzerland.
“That doesn’t mean that crime doesn’t happen,” Senator Ward continued.
“It doesn’t mean that we can’t do better.
“It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be striving to improve it and particularly to address the kind of offences here that you’re talking about; anti-social behaviour, assaults, violent disorder - things that make people feel unsafe where they should not feel unsafe which is on our streets and in our towns.
“They should feel safe there, they absolutely should and that’s why it’s important that we do everything we can to ensure the Gardaí can deal with those issues, police those areas and I believe that is happening.”
Main image: A garda on patrol in Dublin City Centre. Image: Abaca Press / Alamy Stock Photo