Donegal Fianna Fáil Deputy Charlie McConalogue has said the appalling attack on a 96 year old woman during a burglary at her home in Aghilly this weekend is further evidence that now is not the time to dismantle local garda resources.

“This horrendous attack has caused shock and distress right across the local community.  My thoughts are with this poor woman as she recovers from what was an extremely traumatic event,” said Deputy McConalogue.

“While the circumstances of this burglary are particularly upsetting, unfortunately too many people in this region have themselves been victims of burglaries in recent months.  It is clear that in many cases criminal gangs are targeting vulnerable communities and waiting for the right time to make their move. The recent spate of burglaries in Donegal and across the North West region is causing real anxiety and fear for many people, particularly those living alone.

“What happened in Aghilly at the weekend must act as a wake-up call to the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter, who is currently engaged in a slash and burn of community garda resources.  Many communities in Donegal have been left exposed by cuts to garda stations, patrol cars and garda personnel last year.  And this year, Minister Shatter plans to shut down 5 more stations in Donegal including Malin, Annagry, Glencolumcille, Brockagh and Churchill.  As if this wasn’t enough, we learned over the weekend that the Minister also wants to cut an extra 1,000 garda personnel this year, bringing the garda force to its lowest level in a decade.

“People cannot understand why the Minister’s response to a surge in burglaries in rural communities is to dismantle a garda force that took generations to build.  I am pleading with the Minister to look at what is happening here in Donegal and in other rural communities nationwide, and to rethink his attack on rural garda resources.”