Rural crime spree reinforces need for additional officers – Brendan Smith TD

– Station closures and reduced Garda numbers are leading to spike in burglaries –

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has reiterated his call to the Justice Minister to urgently allocate more Garda resources in the Cavan-Monaghan division.  The latest figures released to Deputy Smith reveal that Garda numbers have effectively remained static over the past few months, despite an increase in break-ins and burglaries.

Deputy Smith explained, “The closure of rural Garda stations has led to a major fall off in the number of Gardaí assigned to rural areas.  It is therefore no surprise that we have seen a spike in crime, particularly in farm and machinery yards.   In recent months we have seen an epidemic of burglaries and break-ins with machinery, equipment and diesel stolen.  Many farmers are choosing not to report these crimes for fear of their insurance premiums increasing.

“The figures provided by Minister Flanagan reveal there were 321 Gardaí in the Cavan-Monaghan division at the end of September, which is effectively the same as it was in August.  Since 2014 only 33 officers out of 1,400 who graduated from the Garda College were assigned to the division.

“Despite the Minister’s claim that the Government is “committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and to deter crime”, he fails to give any firm commitment to increase Garda numbers in this area.

“We need to see a stronger Garda presence in our communities to act as a deterrent to criminals and to quell the fears of local people who have been the victims of crime.  However, this Government has ignored the seriousness of the issue and the fact that there are no additional resources being actively considered, even with Brexit on the horizon, is a clear indication that Fine Gael is failing to understand the situation on the ground.

“We need to see additional resources, including the reopening of rural Garda stations and extra Gardaí, allocated to ensure our communities are properly protected”, concluded Deputy Brendan Smith.