Crime epidemic sweeps city

BURGLARIES in Kilkenny city and environs have reached epidemic proportions. The statistics are not the official ones from the gardai but come directly from those dealing with what has become a huge crisis for the Irish insurance industry as well as police and others left to clean up after homes have been burgled.

BURGLARIES in Kilkenny city and environs have reached epidemic proportions. The statistics are not the official ones from the gardai but come directly from those dealing with what has become a huge crisis for the Irish insurance industry as well as police and others left to clean up after homes have been burgled.

There has been an avalanche of people looking for appraisal of stolen jewellery in Kilkenny city. It has led for a call to have cash for gold shops to be immediately licensed. Jeweller, Martin Costello of Murphy Jewellers stunned a select audience on Monday when he said that his premises on High Street, Kilkenny had gone from appraising one stolen item every two or three months in 2008 to doing two or three a week on average in 2012. “It’s out of control, “ he told the Dail Committee on Jobs, Enterprise Innovation which held a hearing in Kilkenny on Monday on the issue of the black market in Ireland.

Mr Costello said that jewellery that had been “probably” stolen locally was being offered for sale somewhere. He called that a system be put in place where it was possible to identify who brought the items to the outlet and trace how the money was paid, preferably through bank accounts.

He said the thefts carried out by professional criminals and drug addicts had to be tackled and that the result was an increase in insurance premia and the waste of garda time in dealing with the aftermath of such crimes. “We have no way of knowing where jewellery offered to these shops is coming from but we do know there has been a huge increase in the number of burglaries of jewellery and watches. The problem we have is that there is no traceability and we need to have new laws in place to ensure we have.”

Mr Costello, the vice-chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Kilkenny also highlighted the prevalence of “popup shops which opened for a short period and left without paying VAT or other taxes. “This is another serious problem and these people will not voluntarily pay the tax so the revenue commissioners should go after them,” he said.

Internet medicine

City chemist, John O’Connell of O’Connell’s pharmacy, Rose Inn Street said that people buying medicines over the internet were in breach of Irish law but were also likely to be buying medicines with too little, too much or the wrong mixture of medicine with potential dire health consequences.

He said the sale of counterfeit cosmetics was also having a serious detrimental impact on legitimate shops who paid tax on these products. Again, he said many of the counterfeit cosmetics were untested and again there were serious health issues with their use.

Following the meeting, Deputy Damien English, chairman of then committee said it was becoming clear that major organised crime was no longer something which is confined to the big cities like Dublin, Cork and Limerick and black market crime is affecting towns and localities throughout Ireland. “The black market destroys sales and makes jobs more vulnerable, undermining the gains made from job creation schemes and it is an issue that the Committee on Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation takes very seriously, “ he said.. “It has been estimated by Retail Ireland that the black market is costing the exchequer €860 million annually while it endangers jobs in legitimate, tax paying retailers. In various areas such as fuel laundering, sales of illegal tobacco and alcohol, counterfeit medicine and goods and entertainment piracy retailers are losing legitimate income as criminals move in for a quick killing,” he said