Crime link to gold trade denied

 

TDS HAVE challenged an assertion by Minister for Justice Alan Shatter that crime has not worsened with the advent of “cash for gold” businesses.

In a Dáil debate on legislation calling for tighter controls on trading in precious and scrap metals, TDs highlighted crimes where homes were burgled and public monuments and property stolen for metal content, including railway signal cables.

Mr Shatter said “there may be a case for tighter requirements specifically in the cash for gold sector”. But he added that the Garda Commissioner had indicated no identifiable rise in crime as a result of the increase in cash for gold trading.

Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan dispute this. She said that at all community meetings in her Dublin Central constituency an increase in crime was highlighted.

“The commissioner also informed the Minister that cash for gold premises are all visited by the Garda Síochána. Again, I find that very difficult to believe,” she said.

They were speaking during the debate on the Scrap and Precious Metal Dealers Bill. It was introduced by Independent Tipperary South TD Mattie McGrath who called for tighter controls in the purchase and sale of gold, silver and platinum as well as copper, lead and bronze because of increasing theft due to rising metals value.

“There are no boundaries over which the cowboys and rogues who are operating here and plundering our national treasures and wrecking havoc on families will not cross,” said Mr McGrath. He highlighted several incidents including a gang that stripped the roof of Hume Street hospital in Dublin over weeks when people thought they were doing a repair job.

He said “roving gangs of marauding thugs” came into his county annually from all over the country masquerading as Travellers. Mr McGrath described them as “shoddy business people”, with no PRSI numbers, VAT numbers, or C2 forms, only cash business.

Cable supplying the signal at Limerick Junction had been stolen twice, costing Iarnród Éireann €500,000 to replace.

Mr Shatter rejected the legislation and said its provisions would be ineffective.