Irish society becoming more violent, says Garda Commissioner

Ireland is becoming a more violent place to live, the country’s top police officer has warned.

Acting Garda Commissioner Noirin O’Sullivan said a soaring murder rate could not be blamed on organised crime but suggested it was down to a general decline in society.

“I think certainly there is more of rush to violence, and not just in terms of death but I think also in terms of serious injuries and people not thinking before they act,” she said.

Official figures released less than two weeks ago showed a surge in the number of murders across the State, despite an overall dip in most other types of crime.

There were 60 people murdered between March last year and the same month this year – more than one person murdered every week.

The figure is up more than 36% – from 44 – for the same period the previous year.

Overall, homicides or killings – which include manslaughter and dangerous driving leading to death – have increased by more than a fifth (23%).

“The increase in homicides is not attributable to organised crime but it certainly is attributable to more of a propensity to violence,” Ms O’Sullivan told a parliamentary watchdog.

The Garda chief pointed in particular to a rise in the number of murders committed within the home as a indication of a deterioration in standards.

“Some of it would be – and I don’t like using the term domestic – but they would be familial as opposed to other types of interaction such as organised crime,” she said.

“Certainly I think there is something there to do with responsible behaviour and awareness.”

Ms O’Sullivan, who has taken over as interim head of the force after her predecessor Martin Callinan’s resignation earlier this year, was speaking before the Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee.

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