Fianna Fáil TD Eugene Murphy raised the issue of rural crime with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny with reference to a spate of burglaries in the Tulsk/Roscommon area in the past week.
Eugene Murphy raised the matter under Questions on Promised Legislation in the Dáil yesterday when he noted that the programme for Government deals with crime prevention, justice and equality.
“Reference is made to security of the public, ensuring a strong and visible police force in every community, investing in CCTV cameras in key locations, building on the success of rural and community schemes and tackling criminal gangs. There have been ten reported break-ins in my constituency of Roscommon-Galway over the past number of days and I can tell the Taoiseach about a half dozen more that people have not reported issues because they count them as minor. Rural Ireland is getting a raw deal on security and people are upset. Old people are worried, and I do not want to scare them but many small businesses are being targeted as well.
“I want to know when the Taoiseach is going to implement what he said in the programme for Government. When are we going to have real security in rural Ireland? People are scared and we need to address this urgently,” said Deputy Murphy.
In his response to Eugene Murphy, An Taoiseach Enda Kenny said that the Government seriously funded Operation Thor, which took many gangs out of operation.
“I am quite sure that Gardaí in the Roscommon area are aware of reported break-ins or burglaries and are on to the perpetrators of these crimes. I hope the perpetrators are brought before the courts in a short time. It is a case of Gardaí working with communities and availing of the facilities that are there. I find throughout vast parts of the country that the text alert through community leadership is very strong. There are occasions where suspicious movements or activities are reported and dealt with very early. It is a case of working through communities, with communities and the Gardaí to best effect for protection and safety of our people,” said An Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
Deputy Murphy said that it was very difficult for communities to work with Gardai when many of these communities had been raided of Gardai resources.
“Gardai resources across the Galway/Roscommon have been raided under Fine Gael and Labour. The number of officers on the ground has fallen by almost 10% since 2010, from 237 to 215,” said Deputy Murphy.
Deputy Murphy pointed out that only five new Gardai had been assigned to the Longford/Roscommon Garda division to date and he highlighted the number of stations across County Roscommon which had closed in recent years including Cootehall, Tarmonbarry, Ballintubber, Loughglynn, Ballyforan and Knockcroghery. The Fianna Fail TD also pointed out that towns such as Elphin, Tulsk and Athleague had also witnessed a loss of Gardai.
Deputy Murphy said that rural communities such as Tulsk where the recent spate of burglaries occurred have been hit time and time again. “Fear levels have increased, particularly in areas which have seen Garda numbers drop-A strong Garda presence is an extremely important tool in the fight against crime,” concluded Deputy Murphy.