There’s evidence that gun crime in Waterford and the south east is steadily increasing, with nine shootings recorded in the Waterford/ Kilkenny garda division in 2007 and five in the first half of 2008.
Figures released by the Central Statistics Office show twenty-four people were arrested for possession of a firearm last year and 15 to June of this year, with an upsurge in figures likely for the second half of 2008 because of the Traveller feud which erupted in the city in July.
Though the occurrence of gun crime continues to increase in the region, however, the statistics are not as stark as elsewhere in the country. Outside Dublin and Limerick, the highest number of shootings in 2007 were in the Wexford/Wicklow division (19) and it also had a high number of possession cases, at 21.
When broken down on a per capita basis, Waterford ranks as the tenth worst division for homicides involving a firearm and eleventh for possession of a firearm.
The number of people caught in possession of firearms and the rise in that figure is to a large degree due to higher levels of
enforcement, according to gardaí. However it also reflects the spread of illegally held firearms across the country.