Fianna Fáil Cllr Joe Flaherty says the Government is failing to crack down on crime in rural areas, and needs to come up with new measures to protect rural communities.

Cllr Flaherty made the comments in advance of a public meeting he is hosting on rural crime on Monday 28th February in the Rustic Inn, Abbeyshrule.

The meeting will hear from Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Jim O’Callaghan on the proposals being put forward by the party to tackle rural crime and to allow people the opportunity to have their say on the issue.

Cllr Flaherty said, “There has been a crime epidemic sweeping through rural parts of Ireland in recent months. There have been a spate of burglaries targeting people who live alone and the Government has ignored the seriousness of the issue to date. The Government has constantly denied there is a problem with rural crime saying that the statistics are down but this is not the experience of families living in rural Ireland.

“Fianna Fáil has been active in highlighting this problem in recent months. We put forward a special Dáil motion calling for additional Garda resources and stricter conditions for repeat offenders. Fianna Fáil has put forward a number of proposals to tackle rural crime. We want to increase the number of Gardaí on the ground in local rural communities and reopen the Garda stations closed by Fine Gael in Government. We also want to see the additional rollout of Garda controlled community CCTV systems to monitor suspicious activity.

“The revolving door nature of our justice system also needs to change. It’s unacceptable that repeat offenders are continuing to punish rural communities without any sense of fear of the law. The bail laws need to be amended to make electronic monitoring a condition of bail where a person has been convicted of a serious offence.

“The public meeting I am holding will allow the people of Longford the opportunity to have their say on the issue of rural crime. I encourage people to attend so that we can send a strong message that urgent action is needed to combat what is a growing problem,” concluded Cllr Flaherty.