The number of murders and manslaughters occurring in Ireland has fallen by more than one-third in the 12 months ending in March, according to the latest crime figures from the CSO.
The statistics agency says 54 murders and manslaughters were recorded between March 2008 and March 2009.
This compares to 85 between March 2007 and March 2008.
Elsewhere, the CSO says the number of reported sexual offences fell by 8% , while drugs offences increased by almost 20%.
There were small increases in robbery, burglary and theft offences, while weapons and explosives offences were up 6%.
Of the 14 crime groups for which statistics are given, 10 show reductions - a statistic described as an 'encouraging trend' by Justice Minister Dermot Ahern.
“I welcome many of the positive trends revealed by these statistics on recorded crime for the first quarter," Ahern said.
"They are evidence of the focused deployment by the Garda Commissioner of the resources available to him. As well as ensuring that the level of frontline resources remains high, I am determined to continue with my programme of comprehensive criminal law reform.
"The challenges in crime prevention and detection are evolving continually and our response must recognise these challenges and respond accordingly.”
The minister however said he was "concerned" at the level of serious crime for which organised crime is responsible, and said he was working on the introduction of further measures, along the lines of those in place to deal with paramilitary groups, to tackle organised crime gangs.