The number of incidents of children being removed from the care of their parents or guardians by gardaí over fears for their safety recorded a sharp decrease last year.
However, there was a significant increase in cases across the three Garda divisions in Cork, notably in Cork North where incidents more than doubled.
Figures show there was a 23% reduction in the number of cases where children were taken into protective care by the State during 2014.
The figures which are contained in the latest annual report of An Garda Síochána show 587 incidents involving children being removed from their home by gardaí were recorded last year. The total in 2013 was 758.
Gardaí revealed that 549 individual children were identified in respect of the 587 incidents.
Under Section 12 of the Child Care Act, gardaí can remove a child from the care of their parent or guardian if they believe there is an immediate danger to the child.
The child is handed over as soon as possible to the care of Tusla – the Child and Family Agency – which makes an independent decision as to whether to return the child to their parent or guardian or to apply to the Courts for an Emergency Care Order.
The biggest reduction in incidents of children being taken into care was in Dublin where the number of incidents declined by 54% — down 122 to 105 cases last year.
There was also a 37% drop in the number of such incidents in the Garda western region which covers Galway, Clare, Mayo, Longford and Roscommon.
However, the Garda southern region experienced the only increase in incidents of children being removed from their home last year – up 17% to 155 cases.
A total of 109 incidents were recorded across Cork city and county last year compared to 61 cases in 2013.
The annual report also highlights how there was a 9% reduction in the number of breath tests on motorists last year with a related 1% decrease in the number of checkpoints.
However, gardaí point out that detections of “life saver” offences such as speeding, safety belts and holding a mobile phone while driving increased between 4% and 13%.
Other highlights of Garda activity identified in the 2014 annual report were: 2,369 people charged under anti-burglary Operation Fiacla, €698m worth of controlled drugs seized with 60 related arrests, 226,715 fixed charge notices issued for speeding, 621 organised crime gangs targeted, 2,315 fingerprint hits from cases handled by Fingerprint Section, 9,179 missing person cases investigated.
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