Fianna Fáil Spokesperson for Justice and Equality, Jim O’Callaghan TD says a motion being brought forward by the party during next Tuesday’s Private Members Business in Dáil Éireann, is aimed primarily at removing the fear posed by the threat of crime in rural communities nationwide.
Commenting ahead of Tuesday’s motion, Deputy O’Callaghan said, “There has been a growing intolerance of organised acts of criminal violence and burglary in communities across the country for some time now.
“A combination of factors has led to repeated organised criminal activity being carried out by criminals in large areas of rural communities. The failure of Government to respond to the pressing need for more Gardaí on the ground policing, together with the greater ability for criminals to access rural Ireland via the improved motorway network have both had a real impact.
“There have been reports of particularly distressing crimes over recent months including violent armed robbery carried out on vulnerable older people living in the midlands and in areas that happen to be without a nearby 24 hour Garda presence.
“The decision by Fine Gael to close rural stations in 2013 has undoubtedly had an adverse impact on crime rates in these communities and the re-opening of Garda stations in these towns and villages is absolutely essential.
“Furthermore, our motion recognises the importance of mechanisms such as Garda controlled CCTV and GPS tracking to detect, deter and protect against criminal activity.
“I am also calling for more stringent amendments to be made to current legislation which would make electronic monitoring a condition of bail for anyone convicted of a serious offence in the previous 10 years.
“While closing many Garda stations was indicative of this Government’s attitude to rural communities, restoring a strong Garda presence in rural Ireland must be an urgent priority.
He concluded, “Fianna Fáil believes the public should not have to tolerate this type of organised crime that is damaging so many of our communities. I have repeatedly raised this issue and the negative impact it is having on our communities, particularly those in rural areas. I look forward to pushing for additional resources to combat the rise in rural crime over the coming period.”