357. Deputy Jim O'Callaghan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has received information from An Garda Síochána regarding the rising level of reported murder threats as detailed by the Central Statistics Office; the findings of the work of An Garda Síochána; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [31307/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): I am aware of reports in the media in recent days, and of the details contained in the most recent CSO crime statistics, regarding an increase in the reported incidents of threats to murder.
The increases are not confined to just one area of the country, but are across all Garda regions.
I am of course concerned at the increase.
I note that there have been substantial increases in areas that are experiencing gang and family feud-related violence. There have been increases in threats to murder in Dublin North, Louth, Limerick and Dublin West. However, as the Deputy is well aware, there are a number of targeted Garda Operations currently ongoing to tackle the threat of serious, violent criminals and Gardaí are currently finalising a strategy to tackle serious assaults against the person.
While there has been a substantial increase in the number of threats to murder over the last 5 years, I note the yearly decrease of 14.3% in incidents of homicide - down from 84 incidents to the end of Q1 2018 to 72 incidents at the end of Q1 2019. It is also worth highlighting that Gardaí have prevented a number of potential homicides, in many cases almost immediately before they were about to be carried out, in recent years through targeted policing operations and I commend them for their ongoing vigilance and bravery in this regard.
To be of assistance to the Deputy, and to address my own concerns, I have also sought the views of the Garda Commissioner on this matter and will contact the Deputy directly once a response has been received.