The annual crime figures from the CSO have shown that there was a substantial increase in murders and manslaughters in 2012.

There were 60 murders and manslaughters last year, 15 more violent deaths than in 2011.

The figures also showed that 54 of the 60 people killed in 2012 were murdered.

A third of the murders were gang-related, up significantly on the year before.

White collar crime, specifically fraud and deception, rape and explosives offences also increased last year.

However, there were declines in the 11 other major crime categories, including robbery, theft and drugs crime.

Gardaí seized €100m worth of drugs in 2012.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said he is concerned at the increase in violent deaths.

He said: "The increase recorded during the last six months of 2012 reflects the consequences of gang warfare and I am pleased that charges are now pending in respect of a number of individuals.

"We should also not lose sight of the fact that homicide numbers remain substantially lower than they were a number of years ago."