Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Justice, Niall Collins TD, has called on Justice Minister Alan Shatter not to use the latest figures for recorded crime as a stick to beat the Gardaí with.
Deputy Collins was speaking after figures today revealed that most Garda stations throughout the country record one crime or less per day.
Deputy Collins commented: “Gardaí as a security presence in the community do a lot more than simply record crime. These statistics take no account of crime prevention associated with having a Garda presence. Also, many of the rural Garda stations are only open for a few hours a day or a couple of days a week. Crimes committed in the catchment area when these stations are closed are not attributed to them, which may distort the figures.
“Our fear is that Minister Shatter will use this data to continue his attack on local communities and close more Garda stations. Statistics are one thing but the protection and safety of the communities in towns and villages across the country is another and cannot be put in jeopardy.
“If the Minister attempts to hide behind this data to pursue more drastic and unjustified cuts to local policing, Fianna Fáil will strongly resist this. Most small stations cost less than €3,000 or less a year to run and this is justified by the fact these stations are strong deterrents to crime.
“We cannot afford to see a breakdown of law and order in rural Ireland, many high profile incidents in recent years have served to remind us that criminals are just looking for a chance to cause panic and fear in the countryside.
“The Minister should be looking to protect our elderly and vulnerable in rural Ireland instead of hiding behind statistics to abandon them.”