A Limerick businessman says his shops are being “ravaged” by teenagers and he wants parents to be held responsible for their children’s crimes.
Michael Gleeson owns five stores in the city and says staff are routinely intimidated and stock is stolen by teenage criminals.
“It’s frightening to see it there - it’s about €50,000 [stolen] on average per store,” he told Lunchtime Live.
“This is not a Limerick problem - it’s an Irish national state problem.
“It’s up and down the country - go to Wicklow, go to Wexford, go to Cork, go to Dublin.
“Shops [in] every palace are being ravaged - I suppose is the word - by these gangs and youth.”
Mr Gleeson feels the youths have “no fear” about being prosecuted and this has only made matters worse.
“Most of them are underage and trying to get them picked up is extremely difficult,” he said.
Mr Gleeson added they often use electric bikes to get away and has been told Gardaí are worried they will hurt them if they try and force them to dismount.
“Most Gardaí I meet every day are going out there, doing their best for us and they’re not getting back by our Government,” he said.
“And more by our legislation and the legal profession seems to attack them at every chance that they get.
“The Guards need to be supported better.”
Mr Gleeson is consulting on hiring security and hopes it will help him retain staff going forward.
The cost will be nearly as high as the cost of the stolen stock but he hopes it will make workers feel safer in their jobs.
“A lot of staff are being abused morning, noon and night,” he said.
“Elements of the public shout, roar and stick cameras in people’s faces as a form of intimidation.
“Hopefully that will be outlawed - the use of a mobile phone as intimidation - please God.”
Mr Gleeson believes that parents should be more accountable for their children’s actions.
“If a juvenile does the crime, then a parent should pay the fine or do the time,” he said.
“They all come from a family and they’re all let out. So, who is responsible at the end of the day?
“Is it our State or ourselves?”
The age of criminal responsibility in Ireland is 12.
Main image: Young boy shoplifting. Picture by: Alamy.com