The Irish Pharmacy Union (IPU) has welcomed the Report on the Cost of Doing Business from the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Business, Enterprise and Innovation, which was recently launched.
Speaking at the launch, IPU President Daragh Connolly said he was pleased to see the recommendations from the IPU taken on board, and called for the Minister for Justice to go before the Committee to outline how the recommendations on crime will be implemented.
Mr Connolly said: “The IPU presented to the Committee in April, and told Committee members that pharmacies throughout the country have been subjected to criminal activity on an ongoing basis, and the problem continues to get worse.
“We made a number of recommendations, including the recording of specific statistics on crimes against businesses, and more visible policing. We are pleased that these recommendations are in the Committee’s Report. However, we now need action in these areas.
“I raised at today’s launch that the Minister for Justice must be asked to appear before the Committee to outline his strategy for implementing those recommendations related to crime. This must happen as soon as possible, to ensure that budgets allow for these measures, and pharmacists can start seeing a difference within their communities.”
Mr. Connolly concluded: “We commend and thank the Committee members and staff for their work on the Report, which is quite comprehensive and addresses many of the issues that small business owners, including pharmacists, face on a daily basis.
The recommendations on rates and insurance costs, in particular, are very pertinent to family pharmacies, and we look forward to seeing progress in these areas.”
The most recent survey by the IPU found four-in-five pharmacies in Ireland have been targeted within the last year.
The Irish Pharmacy Union Crime Survey research also shows that crimes against pharmacies are not isolated incidents, with 81% of victims reporting having experienced two or more incidents during 2017.
The IPU has called for tougher sentencing and a more visible garda presence to deter crime against pharmacies.
The survey, among a sample of 130 pharmacies nationwide, was undertaken in the week beginning 8 January 2018.
Almost one third of cases were described as violent and/or involved the use of a weapon.
A knife was used in 77% of robberies or raids where a weapon was present and a gun was present in 8% of these cases.
The number of pharmacists who experienced a raid, at 13%, was up considerably on last year (6%).
The survey found that 45% of pharmacists who decided not to report a crime did so because they felt the perpetrator would not be charged.
It found 23% had no confidence in the garda response, while 97% invested in CCTV to protect their staff and their businesses.