The number of people arrested for being drunk in Cork city and county has increased dramatically and it is being attributed primarily to the improving economy.
Figures released by the gardaí show that arrests for drunkenness between last August and October numbered 436. During the same period last year there were 324 arrests, so there was a rise of 34%.
Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin told a meeting of the Cork County Joint Policing Committee in County Hall today that the likelihood was that this was due to more people being in employment and many having increased disposable income.
He also told Cllr Michael Ahern that it could be due in part to gardaí concentrating their resources at so-called hotspot times in the city and towns.
Deputy Jerry Buttimer said he was “very concerned” about the increasing level of drunkenness and the post-recession rise in drug use.
Chief Superintendent Con Cadogan, who is in charge of the West Cork Garda Division, said that gardaí had arrested 22 drug-drivers in his division so far this year, which was up seven on last year's total.
There has also been a notable rise in the number of traffic accidents in the region, which has again been put down in part to more people going to work.
The number of non-serious injury collisions rose from 101 to 144 and material damage only accidents increased from 1,323 to 1,394 in the comparable periods.
Fortunately, the number of fatal accidents fell from two to one and serious injury accidents were also down from 22 to 18.
Thefts from shops were up from 554 to 610 and theft from the person also rose from 32 to 41.
Chief Supt McPolin, who is in charge of policing Cork city, said thefts from vehicles had increased from 187 to 262 and the number of bicycles stolen rose from 85 to 98.
The number of cars stolen was also up from 69 to 85.
However, assaults causing harm and minor assaults were both down from 102 to 92 and 396 to 346 respectively.
Public order offences were also down marginally to 467.
But criminal damage incidents rose from 433 to 523 and arson increased from 35 to 51.
The number of burglaries actually dropped by 70 from 290 to 220 which gardaí said were down to specific operations against known gangs.
The number of rapes reported rose 19 to 22, but non-aggravated sexual assaults fell from 61 to 58.
Some of the rapes were of a historic nature and gardaí emphasised that people are more likely to report such crimes now than years ago because they feel there is more help available to them.