Gunshot wounds on the increase

by Gazette Reporter

There has been a significant increase in the numbers of admissions for gunshot injuries at Connolly Hospital in the years between 2001 to 2010 according to a 10-year review conducted there.
The report which was compiled by radiology consultants Ian Murphy, Lisa Lavelle, Elaine Ni Mhurchu, Roisin McCarthy, and Eric Heffernan, shows that 65 patients with gunshot injuries were seen in the emergency department at Connolly Hospital between 2001 and 2010.
The results of the study show a dramatic increase in gun crime in Dublin over the previous four decades up to 2010. The age profile decreased from an average age of 31 years, to 27, from 2001 to 2010 and the mortality rate had increased. There was a marked increase in high-velocity firearms, (handguns, rifles and semi-automatic weapons), which has been widely attributed to increased gangland activity and the illegal drug trade.
The study concluded: “There has been a sharp increase in the numbers of admissions from gunshot injuries in a West Dublin hospital (Connolly) in the past decade. Despite this, the numbers in Ireland are still low by comparison with other developed countries, and the burden on our radiology department remains relatively low. Should the increasing trend continue, further resources and expertise may be required.”
Cllr David McGuinness (FF) said: “I believe the report highlights how serious a problem gun crime has become West of Dublin.
“The average age of those affected is down to 27 showing how younger people are being embroiled in the drugs industry. Also, the strain on medical personnel and on Garda resources is a cause of huge concern.
“The rotation of doctors every four years means that there is a vacuum of experienced doctors in Connolly every couple of years leaving a new team in charge without any experience of gunshot wounds.
“Equally, 24/7 Garda cover (for victims) drains resources from Blanchardstown Garda Station who are already stretched thin dealing with burglaries and other crimes throughout Dublin 15. I have yet to see a response from the HSE and Garda Management in light of the publication of this important report.”
A spokesperson from the HSE said: “Multiple gunshot injuries are a form of major trauma which requires input of a number of specialties. These specialties are currently supported by the multidisciplinary team in Connolly Hospital and further supported by other hospitals as specialties needs arise.”
A spokesperson from An Garda Siochana said: “Members of An Garda Siochana are utilising all available legislation relating to organised crime, (and) will continue to develop and implement strategies to dismantle and disrupt criminal networks.
“The Emergency Response Unit while Dublin based, is available for deployment throughout the jurisdiction by road and/or air. This unit has available to it a range of weaponry sufficient to support any policing operation. Proactive intelligence-led intervention operations, preventing illegal activity by criminal groups has been and continues to be a priority focus.”

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