Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has slammed the Government for its outright denial about the seriousness of the rural crime epidemic across the country. The Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald’s refusal to even consider reopening some of the 139 stations that they closed over the past five years demonstrates her complete denial about the gravity of the situation.
Deputy Smith commented, “This Government has completely lost touch with reality and appears to have no idea of how serious the crime wave has become. Every community across Cavan and Monaghan has been affected by crime, and over the past year the situation has deteriorated steadily. The latest figures reveal a 90% increase in burglaries across the Garda division. In the three months to the end of September last year, there were 146 recorded incidents, up massively from 78 for the same period in 2014.
“There is no doubt that this huge increase is as a direct result of the decimation of the Garda force in the Cavan-Monaghan district over the past five years. There are now 75 fewer officers across the two counties. Nine Garda stations have closed under Fine Gael and Labour. Communities are now genuinely living in fear, and the crime statistics would indicate that they have every right to be worried.
“Not content with slashing the number of rank and file officers across the districts, the Government has now also effectively disbanded the Garda Drugs Unit. In 2010 the force had 8 Gardai attached to the drug unit, but as of 2013 the numbers were cut and there is now no dedicated drugs unit in the entire division. This is a completely unacceptable situation, especially given the fact that Cavan-Monaghan is particularly vulnerable given its proximity to the border.
“I have highlighted the seriousness of the increase in crime in this region for some time but unfortunately my concerns are falling on deaf ears. This Government has begun believing its own hype and is refusing to address the situation. Communities across Cavan and Monaghan are being put at unnecessary risk because of the Government’s reluctance to acknowledge the problem and invest in proper resources. The past five years has seen an arrogant Government preside over the serious depletion and neglect of public services and a two-tier recovery. This cannot continue. Fianna Fáil wants to see an Ireland built on strong, safe and enterprising communities. We will not ignore the escalating crime levels and have already put tangible proposals forward to tackle rural and urban crime”.