Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary Jackie Cahill says fundamental measures need to be implemented to allow Gardaí to tackle crime effectively.

He made the comment following the publication of the Report on Community Policing and Rural Crime.

Deputy Cahill explained, “This report shines a light on the urgent action needed from government to ensure that the Gardaí are trained, equipped and resourced to cope with the challenges they face on a day to day basis. Community Gardaí in particular are an integral part of the force, building relationships and engaging with groups and businesses, however, they are also often the first members of the force to be redeployed to other roles, leaving huge gaps in the communities in which they were serving.

“Here in Tipperary, the role of Community Gardaí has been extremely important. They became the link for people whose areas lost a Garda Station under the last Fine Gael government. A number of stations in Tipperary were closed by Fine Gael between 2010 and 2013 including Dundrum, Grangemockler, New Inn, Rearcross and Terryglass.

“There are also serious issues in rural areas regarding trespassing. This is something I have been raising at party level and in the Dáil having been contacted by landowners who are concerned about increasing crime levels. They have highlighted cases whereby groups are going on to their land claiming to be hunting but the landowners are worried that these groups are merely searching for opportunities for criminal activity.

“There is also growing concern about an increase in drug activity in both rural and urban areas. Communities are extremely worried about the impact that increased drug use and activity will have on their local area.

“A Rural Crime Taskforce within An Garda Síochána would be able to develop specialist knowledge of the sorts of crime that is affecting rural areas and be better able to tackle the criminals involved. This is one of a number of measures which my party believes needs to be examined so that our communities can begin to feel safe again”, concluded Deputy Cahill.