Sinn Féin Councillor Noel Jordan has hailed the publication of his party’s plan to tackle crime in rural areas this week as a clear roadmap for how policy makers can help protect rural communities.
Commenting following the unveiling of the document by Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire, the Donegal Councillor said more needs to be done to ensure that people feel safe in their own homes.
Cllr Jordan said:
“I am delighted by the publication this week of this dedicated policy paper which outlines Sinn Féin’s position on tackling rural crime.
“As many of us know all too well, the issue of rural crime has become a real scourge across huge swathes of Donegal, as demonstrated by the recent spate of house robberies and business break-ins.
“People deserve to feel safe in their communities, unfortunately – in recent times – due to a reduction in Garda visibility and increases in certain types of crime, this is not the case.
“People in many rural areas of Donegal feel isolated and vulnerable and we’ve witnessed very significant incidences of property crime combined with significant increases in burglary and the theft of farm machinery and equipment.
"We’ve also seen the closure of many small Garda Stations in rural towns and villages, while the numbers of community Gardaí under Fine Gael Governments has fallen by 35% since 2010 across the state as a whole.
“The Minister for Justice and the Garda Commissioner need to step up to the mark, to provide the resources and get the Gardaí out on the beat to give people peace of mind.
"This Document outlines what Sinn Féin would do to decisively tackle Rural Crime, and includes how we’d recruit 800 Gardaí per annum to gradually increase the force above 16,000, and recruit 550 Civilian staff a year to free Gardaí up from office work and get them out on the street and on patrol.
"Similarly, the party propose to set up a Rural Crime Task Force in all rural Garda Stations, as well reforming Joint Policing Committees to give them more powers and give local Communities more influence on policing.
“The paper also proposed a number of measures to make it easier to detect people handling stolen goods, something which continues to blight many rural areas.
“Our rural communities deserve to feel safe and I would call on Government to examine our proposals and to now show that it will start to take this issue seriously.”