Offaly Fianna Fáil TD, Barry Cowen says a motion being brought forward by the party during tomorrow evening’s Private Members Business in Dáil Éireann, is aimed primarily at removing the fear posed by the threat of crime in rural communities across the midlands.
Commenting ahead of the motion, Deputy Cowen said, “There has been a growing intolerance of organised acts of criminal violence and burglary in our community for some time now."
“The establishment of a new Task Force on Crime in Offaly will go some way towards disrupting the activities of criminals and preventing the occurrence of crime. However, the failure of Government to respond to the pressing need for more Gardaí on the ground policing, together with the greater ability for criminals to access rural Ireland via the improved motorway network means we need to get tougher on repeated criminal activity."
“Recent reports of particularly distressing crimes including the violent armed robbery carried out on a farmhouse in our area, cannot and will not be tolerated," he said.
“It is sadly of little surprise that organised criminality has been on the increase in many parts of Offaly when you consider that there are fewer numbers of Gardaí operating in our communities now than in 2010," Cowen added.
“While closing many Garda stations was indicative of this Government’s attitude to rural communities, restoring a strong Garda presence in rural Ireland must be an urgent priority."
“It’s well acknowledged that the best way to tackle opportunistic criminals is to have Gardaí on the ground operating at the heart of our communities but for this to be the case; the Government must increase the operational capacity of the force."
“Our motion, if passed, will allow for more stringent amendments to be made to current legislation which would make electronic monitoring a condition of bail for anyone convicted of a serious offence in the previous 10 years," Barry explained.
Furthermore, Cowen says, it will recognise the importance of mechanisms such as Garda controlled CCTV and GPS tracking to detect, deter and protect against criminal activity.
“Fianna Fáil believes the public should not have to tolerate this type of organised crime that is damaging so many of our communities. I have repeatedly raised this issue and the negative impact it is having on our communities, particularly those in the more rural parts of this constituency."
He concluded, “I look forward to pushing for additional resources to combat the rise in rural crime over the coming period.”
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