General election candidate for Kildare North Cllr James Lawless has criticised the sudden interest in tackling rural crime from the current Government after years of cutting resources to An Garda Síochána. After four years leaving communities across the country vulnerable to criminal gangs burgling homes and terrorising families the Government has finally woken up to the scourge of crime across the country.
Cllr Lawless said “It is no coincidence that with at most five months left of their term this government are now tackling rural crime. With three government T.D.’s in Kildare North it is very disappointing that only now they are supposedly taking action other than cutting Garda numbers and closing stations.”
Clllr Lawless was speaking as the Government began a PR offensive to sell a cash and resource package to help Gardaí take on gangs. The package is set to include a fleet of vehicles for specialist Gardaí.
Cllr Lawless said: “The Government is finally waking up the scale of the problem being faced by communities and that the Gardaí need specialist resources to meet the policing challenges of today. Unfortunately thousands of burglaries have taken place, communities feel increasingly isolated and older citizens living in rural areas in particular feel more vulnerable as a result of the Government’s failed policing policies to date. Swinging into full spin mode four months before an election will not paper over the fact that the Government has been taking Garda resources out of communities for the last four years.
“Additional resources are welcome but they need to be rolled out in a co-ordinated and joined up manner. This additional expenditure seems to be part of the Government’s supplementary estimates. However, this will be met with great frustration in many rural communities. Towns and villages across the country have been pointing out for years that they were being deprived of essential protection. Indeed my party has been accused by the Government of scaremongering and stoking fear in communities. Now they’re finally waking up to the scale of the problem.
“The Government’s pattern here is well worn and completely predictable. Pursue a failed policy, deny it’s causing major problems on the ground, attack the people who try to identify the problem and when the true scale of the crisis is exposed, then send the PR machine into overdrive. Discretionary medical cards, the bank veto on mortgage arrears, Irish Water and now crime. Fine Gael and Labour’s policies have caused major problems, particularly in rural communities and it will take a long time to build up the community infrastructure that has been consistently undermined by this Government.”