Friday 30 September 2016

We must invest to fight against rural crime

Published 07/09/2015 | 02:30

Robert O'Shea's premises outside Littleton, Co Tipperary, which was robbed. Photo: Kyran O'Brine
Robert O'Shea's premises outside Littleton, Co Tipperary, which was robbed. Photo: Kyran O'Brine
Farmers and robbery victims Barry O’Gorman, Michael Hackett, Francis Burke, Donal Lane, John Quinn and Ailbe Hayden

As farm union leaders prepare to march in Brussels today for the first time in many years in defence of serious income losses, it is with heavy hearts that we reflect on another serious rural problem: the scourge of crime.

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Persistent reports from various corners of the country show that rural and farming communities have lost faith in An Garda Síochána's ability to tackle the problem. Persistent reduction in numbers, limited resources, and a lack of a local garda presence due to station closures, have taken a big toll.

The simple reality is that we need more targeted investment in the fight against rural crime. It is hard to over-state the extent of this problem and even harder to keep patience with those who try to dismiss it as "hype". Local communities have suffered recurring material losses from crime and the knock-on effects of lowered morale and frustration.

In this newspaper over recent months, we have reported how rural communities have seen persistent spates of thefts and break-ins. The record speaks for itself and it is now time for targeted action to restore peace to rural Ireland.

Irish Independent

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