US government issues warning to its citizens in Ireland
The US Embassy in Dublin has told visitors to take special precautions and follow a number of safety measures as the Irish capital is experiencing a surge in violent crimes. This comes as the local authorities are now trying to boost the city’s police force.
In a security alert published on the embassy’s website on Monday, American citizens have been urged to be aware of their surroundings and avoid walking alone, especially at night, and to research locations before traveling to them.
They have also been asked not to display any expensive jewelry or watches and refrain from carrying large amounts of cash or placing passports, cash, cell phones or other valuables in easy-to-reach pockets or on tables in public places.
The embassy encouraged citizens to “keep a low profile,” avoid staring for too long at their phones, limit earbud/headphone use in public and be mindful of alcohol consumption, pointing out that pickpocketing, mugging and “snatch and grab” theft of mobile phones and other valuable items can occur.
The alert comes just days after a US tourist named Stephen Termini was left with serious injuries following a violent assault in the center of Dublin. On Sunday, the city’s Children’s Court charged a 14-year-old boy with assaulting the 57-year-old tourist.
Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar announced on Monday that he will be meeting with Police Commissioner Drew Harris to discuss the spike in violent attacks in the country and will also be seeking to find a way to recruit more officers.
Varadkar had previously set a target of recruiting an additional 1,000 police officers by the end of the year and stated on Monday that he hoped 200 officers would be recruited this week. However, he pointed out that it will likely be only around 90.
“It’s going to be hard to reach the 1,000 target but we are not parting from it and part of my meeting with the Garda Commissioner next week will be seeing what we can do to improve recruitment,” the prime minister said.
Varadkar also noted that aside from increasing recruitment it is also necessary to address the “underlying issues” around addiction and poverty in order to crack down on crime. “We need to be willing to tackle the causes of crime as well as tackling crime itself,” he said.