Fianna Fáil spokesperson on Justice, Jim O’Callaghan TD, has said that Ireland’s trespass laws must be reviewed and brought under the criminal justice system to protect businesses and land owners.

Deputy O’Callaghan said, “At present, illegal trespassing is dealt with solely under our civil law system. It is not treated as a criminal issue. Fianna Fáil believes that this needs to be changed so that some serious forms of trespass can be categorised as crimes. This is necessary to deal with those types of trespass which are for the purpose of gathering information about property that can be then be used to commit theft and burglary. That type of premeditated trespass can have a very damaging impact on farmers, landowners and businesses. 

“To deal with the scourge of rural crime, other changes are needed. Bail laws must be changed to ensure that repeat offenders cannot get bail as easily as they can at present.

“Rural Garda stations, closed by the last Fine Gael and Labour government, but deemed integral to reducing rural crime must be reopened, and we need to see more Gardaí working in the hearts of communities across rural Ireland. 

“What many people are deeply frustrated with is the failure to properly roll out Garda-controlled CCTV schemes. This needs to change to give rural dwellers more confidence. 

“We need to see root and branch reform in order to dampen the rise in rural crime. Fianna Fáil has consistently put forward common sense proposals, and will continue to do so to make living, working and farming in rural communities safer for everyone,” concluded Deputy O’Callaghan.