Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Niall Collins TD has responded to what he described as ill-informed and politically illiterate comments from the Tánaiste today on the issue of rural crime.
Deputy Collins commented, “Over the course of the last four years, I have travelled the length and breadth of the country, attending at least 20 public meetings on the issue of rural crime. For the full duration of those four years, the Tánaiste Joan Burton and her colleagues in Government denied that there was any problem of rural crime. Now, four years and 139 closed Garda stations too late, Ms Burton has woken up to the issue. What is her response? To reflect on the impact of closing down community policing in this country? To be honest about the collapse in morale within An Garda Siochána and the effect it is having? No, the Tánaiste just reaches for the same tired old clichés and seeks to blame Fianna Fáil for the direct consequences of her Government’s policy decisions. She says that the Garda training college was temporarily closed at the height of the financial crisis, but failed to mention that she and her colleagues kept it closed for the last four years and has only recently started training new recruits. During that time, they recruited into the Army, while steadfastly refusing to recruit into An Garda Siochána.
“Like Alan Kelly’s failed PR initiative on rural towns this morning, this Labour Party input into the issue of rural crime is too little, too late. Joan Burton is convincing no one.”