Whilst Ireland is considered to be a relatively safe place to live, students are advised to exercise caution when walking home alone in the evenings, particularly in the more urbanised areas. From November through to February it can get dark as early as 4.30pm. The colleges themselves will be able to brief students on the personal safety issues relative to their particular area.
Despite increasing urbanisation and the difficulties historically associated with the conflict in Northern Ireland, personal safety is generally very high and there is a low level of violent crime.
The Police force is called the Garda Siochana ( meaning Guardians of the Peace), usually called the Gardai. The force is a unarmed and is headed by a Government appointed Commissioner. An Garda Siochana is operationally independent but answerable to the people, Parliament and Government through the Minister for Justice, Equality and Law Reform. The Courts are completely independent. An Garda Siochana exercises all police functions in the country. It is responsible for all criminal investigations, the enforcement of road traffic law, the maintenance of public order, immigration control and it enforces drug laws and provides the state security service. In so doing it seeks to uphold and protect the human rights of all individuals within the state.