first_imgFianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue says urgent action needs to be taken to reduce rural crime.Residents in communities across the county are living in fear as crime levels continue to rise, he warnedDeputy McConalogue told Donegal Daily his party has a seven-point plan to tackle crime “People living in rural and isolated areas, and older people in particular have expressed genuine fears about a spike in crime rates,” said the Fianna Fail TD.“Recent crime figures reveal that more than 30,000 burglaries were committed across the country last year – an 8% increase on the previous year. This is extremely worrying.“There is no doubt that the removal of Gardai from local communities through the closure of rural garda stations like Malin, Annagaire and Glencolmcille has led to the increase in burglaries across the county. The presence of a Garda in a town or village is a deterrent in itself, but many communities have lost their station and as a result are left exposed. Since this Government came to power at least five Garda stations have been closed across Donegal.“Despite the Government attempts to spin its way out of this crisis, the fact of the matter is Donegal has lost 71 Gardai over the past four years. In April 2011 there were 464 Gardai stationed in the county, that had fallen to 393 by February 2015. There is no doubt that this drastic reduction has had a significant impact on local communities across this county. Given the geographical size of Donegal, the loss of manpower and resources, means that it has become increasingly difficult to patrol and police large parts of the county. This in turn has led to crime and burglary spates in rural pockets and is a grave cause of concern for residents. “Fianna Fáil has devised a 7 point plan to tackle rural crime, which commits to extra Gardai, tougher sentences for career criminals. We would also establish a national neighbourhood watch programme to provide a support structure for communities around the country.“The full seven point plan consists of– 14,000 GardaíWe are committed to strengthening the Garda force to 14,000 members and maintaining Garda numbers at this optimal level. We will seek to increase the Garda Reserve to 2000 members. We will also provide the squad cars necessary for the Gardaí to carry out their duties.– Protect the ElderlyWe will enact legislation to introduce longer sentences for those who assault elderly persons who are increasingly vulnerable in rural communities.– Tougher SentencesWe will introduce legislation for mandatory minimum sentences for those who are convicted of burglary offences. We will also establish a Sentencing Council to promote consistency in sentencing. – Neighbourhood WatchWe commit to establishing a national neighbourhood watch directorate to centrally support and drive community neighbourhood watch programmes across the county.– CCTV on Motorway NetworkWe will install CCTV cameras on Motorway exits to detect criminal activity.– Investment in TechnologyWe propose a significant investment programme in the technology Gardaí currently use to allow for smarter policing in our rural communities.– Restorative JusticeWe commit to expanding the use of restorative justice in our criminal justice system where appropriate and ensure that community service orders are fit for purpose and monitored effectively. We will deduct the cost of free criminal legal aid from those convicted from their income and social welfare payments. “This rural crime wave must be brought under control. Communities should not be forced to live in fear. This plan can be easily implemented and will go a long way to reducing crime in rural areas”.DONEGAL COMMUNITIES LIVING IN FEAR OF CRIME – McCONALOGUE was last modified: October 21st, 2015 by John2Share this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:Charlie McConaloguecrimedonegalrural crimelast_img