19 Aug 2022

Fianna Fáil proposes specialised unit to tackle rural crime - Flaherty

Fine Gael accused of 'decimating community policing' in Longford

Fianna Fáil proposes specialised unit to tackle rural crime - Flaherty

Fianna Fáil proposes specialised unit to tackle rural crime - Flaherty

Fianna Fáil will establish a Rural Crime Bureau if elected to government, according to Longford Westmeath general election candidate Cllr Joe Flaherty.

The new special crimes unit is part of a series of measures announced by Fianna Fáil to crack down on burglaries, drugs, antisocial behaviour and violent crime in rural communities.

Cllr Flaherty explained, “Many communities in Co Longford are feeling unsafe due to the reduction in our local garda resources, along with the increase in drug use and the rising threat of gangs.  We now have a situation where drugs are being sold and taken openly in public. Our local gardaí are under increasing pressure and they simply do not have the support and resources needed to tackle the problem.

“We need to boost garda numbers in Longford and Westmeath.  We need to equip our local gardaí with the resources they need to tackle the increasing prevalence of drugs and antisocial behaviour.  We need a specialised unit within An Garda Síochána to target the unique policing issues in more rural communities.

“We cannot trust Fine Gael to do this. Fine Gael shut down 139 rural garda stations, including Ardagh, Ballinalee and Newtowncashel stations in Co Longford. They decimated community policing. It has had an enormous impact on the sense of safety in the county. It’s added to a feeling of rural isolation for many people, particularly older people or those living alone. Our local gardaí have been shown a complete lack of support by the outgoing government.  They need more manpower, more resources and far greater backing from our national legislators.

“Fianna Fáil is the only party proposing to set up a specialised unit within An Garda Síochána tasked with improving the safety and security of rural communities. We will also restore garda numbers in Co Longford, boosting the force nationally to 16,000.  We will cut through the red tape to ensure that communities can draw down funds to establish community CCTV.  We will install CCTV at strategic locations to deter antisocial behaviour and drug dealing.

“We will increase the powers of the gardaí to deal with antisocial behaviour by including new Public Space Protection Orders, Disperse Orders and Community Protection Orders.

“We will also establish Community Safety Networks in Longford and across the country.  These will comprise of local gardaí, members of the community and representatives of town organisations and groups. This will strengthen the links between the gardaí and our towns and villages.”

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