Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth says the Justice Minister needs to wake up to the scourge of rural crime and allocate additional resources to the force in the Cavan/Monaghan division.
There have been a number of high profile burglaries in Cavan in recent months, including two horrific cases in Ballyjamesduff, in which an elderly man and woman were threatened in their homes by two raiders who stole cash and jewellery.
Deputy Smyth has reiterated her call for extra Gardaí to be assigned to the division.
“Fine Gael’s policy of “smart policing” has failed people living in rural areas. There have been numerous break-ins in homes and farms across Cavan and Monaghan, with cash, jewellery and machinery being stolen. The case last month in Ballyjamesduff was particularly violent and has increased fear levels in the local community, particularly among older people”, said Deputy Smyth.
“These are not isolated incidents; the most recent crime stats for the Cavan/Monaghan division reveal an increase in burglaries from 343 in 2016 to 474 in 2017 – a jump of more than 38%. Let there be no doubt; visibility plays a huge part in combatting crime, and the fact of the matter is that we have fewer Gardaí now than in 2010. There are only 2 Community Gardaí across the two counties – this is outrageous. The number of Sergeants is also well down – which not only has an impact on day to day policing duties, it also limits the number of probationer Gardaí which can be assigned to the division. No new probationer Gardaí have come into the division since 2009.
“The entire Cavan/Monaghan division is understaffed. I have been told that it is not unusual to have single crewed patrol cars operating in the border districts on a regular basis and on night tours. This is particularly worrying given the threat of Brexit and the uncertainty over border arrangements once the UK leaves the EU.
“Despite the Garda Inspectorate report and the O’Higgins Commission report, both of which highlighted issues with resources, very little effort has been made to restore staff numbers back to the necessary levels. I will be raising this issue again with the Justice Minister and will continue to pursue it until we see some tangible progress in this area”.