FG backbenchers want more gardaí to tackle crime
Fine Gael TDs are pressing for more gardaí to tackle the scourge of crime - especially in rural areas.
The move has been intensified following the death of an elderly man in Doon, Co Limerick, last week. John O'Donoghue (62) suffered a heart attack after coming upon intruders at his home on returning from a shopping trip with his sister.
Fine Gael TDs have said fear of crime, fuelled by a view that there are fewer gardaí, is now a very real problem. They insist that it is time for more gardaí to be deployed with better resources.
Meath East TD Regina Doherty said she did not believe that the closure of some garda stations was a big factor. "The simple reality is that people believe that they are fewer gardaí now available. And that is because they are down in numbers from 14,000 to about 11,500," Ms Doherty told the Irish Independent.
Ms Doherty said she and neighbours are currently engaged in establishing a text alert in her locality. She said the fear of crime was damaging quality of life in communities and must be addressed.
"We need more gardaí and they must get better resources. They must become involved in things like anti-crime intelligence," Ms Doherty said.
"I believe it is a tribute to our gardai that crime is not even worse. We don't have buckets of money to spend on this problem but we need more resources," she insisted.
Other TDs who have been lobbying Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald on the issue include Limerick city TD, Kieran O'Donnell.
He told the 'Sunday Independent' that people feared the closure of some rural garda stations was part of the problem.
Galway East TD Paul Connaughton said he had written to both the Garda Commissioner, Nóirín O'Sullivan, and the Justice Minister seeking further clarification on how far citizens can go in defending themselves and their homes from intruders.
Independent Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae said rural crime was now "at crisis levels" due to garda stations being closed down. He criticised government plans for alternative uses of these stations.