Fianna Fáil will host a public meeting in Ballaghaderreen next week on the increase in crime in the community, the closure of rural garda stations and the cuts to community garda resources.
The party’s Justice Spokesperson Niall Collins, who is due to address the meeting, has expressed particular concerns about the surge in burglaries in the North West and the fact that the region has been targeted for the bulk garda station closures and cuts to community resources.
“Roscommon, Mayo, Galway, Sligo, Leitrim and Donegal have been forced to bear the brunt of the cuts to community garda resources this year,” explained Deputy Collins.
“What people cannot understand is how these cuts are justified when the West and North West is experiencing an unprecedented burglary problem at this time. Gardaí in this region are under more pressure than ever before, services are being pulled from communities for no financial gain, and many people are feeling more vulnerable in their homes than ever before,” said Deputy Collins.
He said the aim of the Ballaghaderreen meeting is to give people a chance to make their voices heard on this issue and to get advice on protecting their homes and businesses, and on enhancing personal safety.
The local Fianna Fáil organisation is hosting the meeting, and says anyone who has concerns or questions about this issue is very welcome to attend.
Cllr Paschal Fitzmaurice, who is a member of the Roscommon Joint Policing Committee, explained, “This meeting is open to anyone who wishes to come along. I know just how much concern there has been about the decision to shut down 5 garda stations in Roscommon for good last month, along with an additional 6 station closures in Mayo, 10 in Galway, 9 in the Sligo-Leitrim division and 5 in Donegal. People are genuinely fearful about the downgrading of community garda resources across this region at a time when so many households and businesses here are being targeted by criminals.
“I believe it is crucial that we maintain a strong and visible garda presence in the community. But instead, the Justice Minister Alan Shatter is breaking the link between the community and the gardaí by centralised the garda infrastructure in urban hubs. This is a deeply flawed policing policy, and rural communities will suffer as a result.
“The meeting next Tuesday will provide an opportunity for people in Ballaghaderreen and the surrounding area to make their voices heard. There will also be advice on hand about keeping your home and business secure and about personal safety.”