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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Ferghal Blaney

Mothers stealing to feed kids amid cost of living crisis as one woman is prosecuted for €180 theft of food and clothes

Mothers are shoplifting to feed their kids during the cost of living crisis as official crime figures show ‘theft from shops’ has soared by as much as 100% in just a year.

Labour finance spokesman, Ged Nash, said that people are stealing in an effort to keep costs down because they can’t afford the rising bills they are faced with every week.

One example last week saw a woman prosecuted in Drogheda District Court for allegedly stealing €180 worth of food and clothes from her local Marks & Spencer.

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The Irish Mirror can now reveal that the numbers are up across all of the Garda divisions.

Gardaí have told the Mirror that the rise in so-called ‘poverty-related crime’ is on the up because poorer families feeling the squeeze on their household budgets are resorting to theft.

One senior Garda source said: “There is undoubtedly a spike and it can be sad at times, it’s often down to people stealing because they can’t afford to pay, or they’re stretched.

“But a crime is still a crime and we have to do our job.”

Mr Nash has seen the numbers go up by the highest level in his area of the country, Louth, which is in the North West division for statistical purposes.

He said that ‘poverty-related crime’ is something he is seeing more of in his day-to-day dealings with constituents.

The CSO (Central Statistics Office) Garda crime figures show there have been increases in each of the four major Garda divisions across the country.

Woman looking through clothes (Getty)

Mr Nash said: “All of the data shows that what might be called ‘poverty-related crime’ is at its highest level in 15 years.

“Recent figures show that rates of stealing from shops is almost 100% higher than it was before the pandemic hit.

“Senior Gardai are on record as stating that the increased incidences of theft of basic foodstuffs and clothes from shops is undoubtedly linked to the cost of living crisis and I would find it hard to disagree.

“From reading court reports in our local papers and speaking to constituents, business owners and to Gardai, the number and profile of first-time offenders is very revealing.

“It is very often mams or dads who are doing their best, people on low incomes who have never been in trouble before but who are really struggling to put food on the table.

“Some cases are incredibly saddening and their situations are all very human and can often be quite desperate.

“There is no doubt that as the once-off measures the government brought in to help households through the winter come to an end at the end of this month, better and more targeted financial assistance needs to be provided to those homes that need it the most.”


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