Roscommon-Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice has repeated calls to re-instate local Gardai to rural stations as part of a range of measures that he feels will reduce crime.
“My proposal for a return to the Local Garda in rural communities still stands. The people who are carrying out these burglaries have local intelligence and the Local Garda who would know everyone in the community would be able to pick up information locally as was the case in the past, and these ‘middlemen’ would be apprehended. In addition I would be in favour of the tagging of convicted criminals. We should know where these people are. We will have the civil liberties crowd giving out about that but we simply cannot have a situation where people of 70, 80 and 90 years of age are afraid in their own homes at night.”
“Community Alerts have been successful but we need to broaden the text alerts to adjoining parishes to make it even more effective because thieves can be away from any given area in a couple of minutes in a high powered car. Another thing that I was very strong on was the Free Legal Aid system. I am a big believer that people should qualify for free legal aid once and once only but I know if it came in it would be taken to court in the EU which is more of what is going on in this country at the moment. People who are repeat offenders will have to be dealt more harshly.We have to cop on and turn the balance back in favour of the victims.”
“I have been pointing out that there are over 1,000 Gardai who are doing desk jobs could be released out on to the front line and they could be replaced by members of the public who could do those desk jobs. But we have got to go back to the idea of the Local Garda, it would do a lot for local communities. Rural crime will have to be front and centre as an issue for any new administration.” he concluded