The prolonged closures of rural garda stations are without doubt the biggest contributor to the fear that exists around rural crime, Deputy Michael Collins (Ind) told the Dáil.
During a debate on rural crime, he said the role of gardaí in rural stations is very important. They work with local communities and community groups such as community alert in preventing crime and that role cannot be underestimated.
‘In my constituency a number of garda stations have been closed, including in Castletownshend, Ballygurteen, Goleen, Adrigole and Ballinspittle,’ he said. ‘During the talks for government, it was agreed by the present government to reopen a number of these stations.’
He said he had seen at first hand the people of Ballinspittle working hard as a community to have their station reopened. In spite of promises to reopen it, they are still waiting. ‘I have asked the Minister for Justice many times in this Chamber to give the people of Ballinspittle an exact date for the reopening of the garda station,’ he said.
Meanwhile, Deputy Margaret Murphy O’Mahony (FF) said there were attempts to break into many properties on an estate in Dunmanway on a recent Saturday at 4am. ‘If two men returning from work had not disrupted four criminals, many houses would have been burgled and many cars stolen,’ she said. ‘Having spoken to gardaí who checked the CCTV footage, the car used in the criminal act was identified. That is how the system should work. However, many other towns and villages, including Bandon, my home town, have been waiting years for CCTV.’
What is more annoying, she said, is the fact that only €430,000 of the €2m allocated has been spent on CCTV systems to date. ‘In Cork South West, 27 applications have been submitted, of which seven have yet to be given the go-ahead,’ she added.
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