Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue says new research on agricultural crime reveals the extent to which this Government has abandoned farmers and people living in rural Ireland. The Agricultural Crime in Ireland report found that two-thirds of farmers have been the victims of crime.
Deputy McConalogue said, “These statistics will come as no shock to anyone in the farming community or in rural Ireland. Despite Government spin to the contrary, we are all well aware of incidents in our communities whereby machinery, stock or property has been damaged or stolen. Time and again I have raised the issue of rising rural crime, but the Government simply isn’t listening.
“The closure of Garda stations over the past number of years has made life easier for criminals targeting rural areas. A strong Garda presence cannot be overestimated, and unfortunately many towns and villages have lost this essential resource. The much talked about “smart policing” simply isn’t working. There have been a number of high profile attacks in rural communities over the past number of months and there is a genuine fear among rural dwellers, especially older people.
“This Government has turned a blind for this problem for too long. The figures in this report are stark and reveal the extent of the problem out there. Minister Frances Fitzgerald needs to start engaging with farming and rural organisations so that she can fully understand the fear that it out there. Rural Ireland is simply not a priority for this Government, and that needs to change”.