More gardaí and more use of CCTV are needed to fight rural crime, according to Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson for justice and equality, Jim O’Callaghan.
Speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal before the party’s motion on rural crime was heard in private members’ business this week, he said there are significant levels of fear and concern throughout local communities when it comes to rural crime.
Listen to Fianna Fáil TDs Jim O'Callaghan and Lisa Chambers in our podcast below:
The party is calling for garda stations to be reopened, an increase in funding for garda-controlled CCTV to detect criminal activity and an amendment to Ireland’s bail laws to make electronic monitoring a condition of bail if an application of bail is made by a person who has been convicted of a serious offence in the 10 years prior.
“It’s incumbent upon the Oireachtas and Government to take steps to ensure there is a response from the State to those types of crime.
“There needs to be more gardaí on the streets and in rural towns and areas.
“The presence of gardaí in an area has the effect of really improving and increasing the confidence that the local community have. It reduces the levels of fear and it’s a deterrent to criminals who are thinking of coming in.”
O’Callaghan said that the re-opening of rural garda stations which were closed by Fine Gael in 2013 is an essential component of the response that is needed to deliver greater public confidence in the effective policing of our communities.
“Mechanisms such as garda-controlled CCTV and GPS tracking also play an important role in detecting and deterring criminal activity.
“Tougher amendments to current legislation are required to tackle the level of organised crime that is so damaging to communities up and down the country.”
Also speaking to the Irish Farmers Journal was Mayo TD Lisa Chambers, who said that the Government has consistently tried to downplay the issue of rural crime.
“We hear figures being thrown out that crime is on the decrease, but that doesn’t correlate with the feeling on the ground. I think what’s actually decreasing is the reporting of crime.
“There’s very specific crimes, theft and burglary [from] farmyards and the specific targeting by criminal gangs of very high-value goods, in terms of machinery, livestock and diesel.”