Provisional crime figures released to RTÉ News show no noticeable difference in the number of assaults recorded in Dublin city between the end of 2021 and the start of 2022.

Figures released by An Garda Síochána show 1,465 incidents of assault were reported in the Dublin Metropolitan Region in the first quarter of this year.

This compares with 1,493 in the last quarter of 2021, according to figures released under reservation by the CSO.

The number of assaults recorded from 1 January to 31 March this year is up on the same period of 2021, when 1,173 incidents of assaults were recorded.

However, Ireland was in a Level 5 Covid-19 lockdown during at the time.

The number of assaults recorded in the capital increased every quarter last year as restrictions eased, from 1,173 in Q1 to 1,493 in Q4.

A garda spokesperson said: "It should be noted in making comparisons with previous years, that Covid-19 impact has had a significant impact on crime trends in 2020 and 2021, particularly in terms of public order incidents, when movement restrictions were imposed and in particular the night time economy was closed for long periods."

In 2019, pre-pandemic, 1,561 assaults were recorded in the first quarter, almost 100 more than have been recorded in the same period this year.

According to gardaí, approximately 15% of assault suspects identified in the first quarter of this year were aged under 21.

Yesterday, Fianna Fáil TD Jim O'Callaghan told the Dáil that there had been a "dangerous level of unprovoked and gratuitous violence" in the city

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime this evening, Mr O'Callaghan insisted that it is time to "capture back" Dublin city in the wake of a number of violent attacks on the streets of the capital.

He said: "We have to try and capture back the city at this stage, as opposed to allowing that fear to spread and for tourists to be attacked and for Dubliners coming into the city to be attacked. That will finish the city if we allow that to continue."

Mr O'Callaghan said that garda resources have been increased in a bid to tackle anti-social behaviour, but it is essential that gardaí are redeployed at night, from work in garda stations to patrol the streets.

Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland, who chairs the Dublin City High Level Street Issues Group, has requested a briefing from Assistant Garda Commissioner Dublin Region Anne Marie Cagney.

Ms Gilliland said that the last meeting of the group had heard that there had been a "small rise" in anti-social behaviour in the city, but that this had been in line with what was expected after the easing of Covid-19 restrictions.