No mercy for thugs who prey on elderly, says minister
THUGS who prey on the elderly can expect no mercy from the law.
That was the message yesterday from Justice Minister Dermot Ahern as he launched the garda's strategy on older people. Mr Ahern said the legislation was in place to deal severely with gangs who targeted older people, particularly those who were deemed vulnerable or lived in isolation.
"I want this message to go out strongly," he added. "Fear of crime can have negative effects on quality of life.
"It can significantly limit or restrict the movement and activities of individuals, which can further impact physical, social and emotional wellbeing. This, along with a feeling of vulnerability, can lead to isolation and exclusion of older people from their local community," Mr Ahern said.
The minister pointed out that around 1,000 gardai were involved in community policing and this new strategy had been devised following consultation with a cross section of groups and organisations.
Garda Commissioner Fachtna Murphy said the strategy was an extension of the community policing model and he had appointed Deputy Commissioner Nacie Rice to champion the cause of the older people.
He pointed out that slightly over 500,000 people in Ireland today were aged 65 or over.
By 2021, this number was expected to be in the region of 775,000 -- a rise of 55pc in only 11 years.
He said that initiatives in operation included older people registers, the bogus caller scheme, information days and the various community alert and Neighbourhood Watch schemes.
A core objective of the strategy, he added, was to keep open lines of communication with older people and ensure a two-way conservation about their policing needs.