Limerick TD and Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Justice Niall Collins says he’s extremely concerned about increases in certain crimes in the Limerick area. The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office reveal startling rises in areas like assault, robbery and weapons and explosives offences.
“This figures show a worrying jump in headline crimes like attempted murder, assaults and harassments. In the last three months of 2013 225 of these offences were recorded in the Limerick Garda Division, that’s 30 more of these crimes when compared with the same period in the previous year. The stats also reveal increases in robberies, burglaries and thefts. These figures will further heighten the fear that people living in rural areas already feel.
“These residents, many of whom live in isolated areas, feel abandoned by this Government, which has closed 5 garda stations across the county in the last year. There was a promise that they would be replaced with a community alert system as well as garda clinics, but this is cold comfort to those who have lost a vital local service. No alert system can function as well as a fully resourced garda station. This Government has been chipping away at the garda force for years, leaving it wildly understaffed and with a second rate fleet. The closure of local stations was the final insult for rural Ireland residents.
“The severity of the situation was highlighted in the last fortnight following two high profile robberies in Limerick. The elderly father of rugby star Eoin Reddan, Don, was bound to a chair in his home as thieves ransacked his house in Ballycummin last week. In a separate incident, an armed and masked gang broke into a family home in Ballingoola near Grange. A man and woman, along with their three young children were tied up and threatened the family at gunpoint. These were extremely frightening and traumatic experiences for the people involved and are indicative of the rise in robbery and extortions that have been recorded in the final quarter of last year.
“Minister Shatter has presided over the decimation of the garda force over the last three years. It will be at least another 2 years before we see garda numbers rising following the lifting of the recruitment ban. One hundred stations were shut in 2013, and major gaps have been allowed to appear in the force. These crime figures are extremely worrying and further emphasise the need for more resources and investment in the force”.