Chief Superintendent Alan McGovern with (from left) Cllr John Paul Feeley, Deputy Brendan Smith, Deputy Niamh Smyth, Senator Joe O’Reilly and Minister Heather Humphreys at the recent opening of the new facility for the Armed Support Unit at Cavan Garda Station.

Increase in sexual offences reported

There’s been a sharp rise in the number of sexual offences reported in Cavan over the past year.

The county’s Joint Policing Committee meeting on Friday heard 49 sexual offences are being investigated so far this year.

That’s up from 30 over the same period in 2020 - 63% higher year-on-year.

Chair of the Committee, Cllr John Paul Feeley (FF) queried the rise and asked if people were being more confident in reporting alleged sexual offences.

Chief Superintendent Alan McGovern said awareness campaigns run both locally and nationally had highlighted the services available to people who are victims of a sexual assault and could have played a part in encouraging people to come forward.

The Protective Services Unit set up in the Cavan-Monaghan Division earlier this year to investigate sexual crimes, child protection issues, domestic abuse and other crimes has also been lauded for its work in the area.

Chief Superintendent McGovern said this unit provided “another outlet to come to”.

The PSU is based in Virginia and Clones garda stations, with one Detective Sergeant and five Detective Gardaí working within it.

A Monaghan JPC meeting held during the past summer heard the unit had 137 active cases under investigation in June.

Cllr Feeley praised the work of the unit and gardaí generally and called for justice to be served in the cases.

“I hope they face the justice they deserve,” he said of the people, if convicted of such crimes.

Drug possession

Meanwhile, the number of cases of drugs possession fell. Thirty-nine cases were reported in the year to date, down from 57 in the same period last year.

Burglary offences have also fallen over the past 12 months. Ninety-five were recorded in the year to date, with 141 in the same period last year.

The number of serious assaults - assaults causing harm - were also down slightly. A total of 120 have been recorded this year, down four. Minor assaults also fell, down 28 to 193.

Criminal damage cases, not including arson, fell by four to 280 in the year to date.

The number of theft offences has also increased over the past 12 months. A total of 412 were recorded, up from 377 last year.

Drink and drug driving offences detected have also fallen. Drink driving was down by nine to 127, with drug driving down 26 to 81.

The Chief Superintendent said many categories of crime this year, such as theft, were being compared with a low base due to the pandemic and lockdowns.

Asked by Cllr Peter McVitty (FG) about the 200% increase in robbery offences recorded in Cavan this year, Chief Superintendent McGovern said two offences were recorded in 2021, with none in 2020: “We’re talking about Covid times. Establishments may not have been open.”