Seanad debates

Thursday, 22 October 2015

10:30 am

Photo of Paschal MooneyPaschal Mooney (Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

Earlier today, I raised the issue of rural crime with the Minister of State, Deputy Jimmy Deenihan, the representative of the Minister for Justice and Equality who could not take the Commencement debate. I also called for a resumption of the programme started by the Fianna Fáil Government in 2005 for the provision of CCTV cameras in towns and villages but which was ended by this Government in 2013. This is vitally important in light of the fear and apprehension now felt by people in rural communities across Ireland about crime, burglaries and attacks on property and persons. Will the acting Leader convey to the Minister for Justice and Equality the importance of ensuring proper resources provided for the Garda, despite the spin the Government is putting out that it is providing more resources?

What astonished me in the reply I received was that it stated, "CCTV schemes certainly have a part to play in the detection of anti-social behaviour and criminality but of paramount importance is a visible and responsive policing service". From living in County Leitrim, there are serious questions asked about the Government’s commitment in that regard. At the most recent meeting of the Leitrim policing committee, the Garda conceded that of the new Garda recruits coming from the much-lauded increased recruitment presented by the Government, only five will be assigned to the Sligo-Leitrim division. And where will the five be based? They will be based in Sligo town with none of them based in County Leitrim.

I also asked if any of the high-speed Garda vehicles to be introduced by the Government in the next few months would be located in rural areas such as Leitrim where they are needed. I appreciate there is a need to have such vehicles chasing these thugs and criminals using our motorway system and welcome this development. All sides of the House will welcome any initiative and provision of resources which will help reduce crime and, particularly, the people’s fear of rural crime in their communities. The two agencies of the State which the people look to are the Government and the police force to protect them in their homes, to protect society and to ensure they are not going to be subjected to the vile brutality like we saw happen in Tipperary. Will the Acting Leader convey to the Minister for Justice and Equality and the wider Government that it has to get its priorities right in this regard? Although we have difficult economic circumstances, the Government seems to be giving the impression that it can throw money around like confetti at a wedding. Let the Government put more money into Garda resources to fight crime, particularly in rural areas.


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