Rural Crime: Spate of break-ins leaves residents terrified
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A rural community is reeling following a spate of break-ins and acts of vandalism.
The Tubbercurry area in south Sligo was targeted by at least one gang last weekend and a number of homes, shops, private cars and the local national school were all damaged.
Tubbercurry is the largest town in Co Sligo and its proximity to major routes makes it easy for travelling gangs to escape, according to local Councillor Jerry Lundy.
The spate of attacks over last weekend have yet again underlined the need for a full time garda presence in Tubbercurry, Cllr Lundy insisted.
The garda station in Tubbercurry is open only from 9.30am to 1pm Monday to Thursday and local public representatives have been repeatedly tried to have the opening hours extended.
"It's the call of the community here in Tubbercurry and in south Sligo to have a full time garda station open 24 hours here in Tubbercurry. There has been a spate of break-ins, robberies and vandalism over the weekend.
"While gardaí in Tubbercurry are doing their very best, they need more resources, better transport and the station in Tubbercurry needs to be open on a full-time basis", Cllr Lundy said.
The blight of rural burglaries and break-ins has spread terror through many parts of the farming community across Ireland.
Speaking at a specially convened public meeting in Thurles on Thursday, Mary Morris from Knockmore, Tipperary, explained the personal toll the rising crime wave has had on her life.
Morris said she now keeps a licensed gun in her house for her protection. "Nearly four years ago we were visited by thieves," she said.
"What they took were only material things, worth a couple of thousand euro. But for me they had great sentimental value; they belonged to my late husband.
"I live on my own now. I have an alarm in my house, and I have two dogs. But it's not nice living on your own in rural Ireland any more," she continued.
"I stay up at night time - I might go to bed around four o'clock." She accused Taoiseach Enda Kenny of "failing to take action" to adequately tackle rural crime.
"I never thought I'd be going to bed at night with a gun in one corner and spare cartridges in the room next door," she said.
"But I have a gun and I have a license."