Funding sought for community alert schemes
"ORDINARY PEOPLE in communities across the country are being victimised by criminals every day."
That's according to West Sligo councillor Joe Queenan who told the October meeting of Sligo County Council that this was happening while garda stations were being closed and downgraded.
Now, he said communities all over the country were organising community alert committees.
But they were short of resources for items such as alarm systems and pendants.
He proposed that the council call on Environment Minister Phil Hogan to allocate funding through the Leader companies to help set up community alert committees, and to provide alarm systems and other measures.
Clr. Queenan said that the surge in burglaries, fraud and petty crime in the first half of this year emphasised the need to protect community garda resources.
He said that according to CSO crime statistics, there were 28,623 burglaries in the year to the end of June.
In addition to this, he said thefts and muggings had surged by 43% during the 12-month period.
Clr. Queenan continued: "These figures highlight the absurdity of Minister Shatter's policy of closing and downgrading garda stations across the country."
Clr. Queenan was supported by Clr. Mary Barrett, who seconded his motion, and by Clr. Gerard Mullaney.
Clr. Rosaleen O'Grady said people, especially older people, were living in fear, not only in rural areas but also in urban areas.
She said: "In the meantime, we have to be conscious of those who are vulnerable in our communities."
Clr. Patsy Barry said the community alert scheme was a very important scheme.
"It also helped people continue living in their own homes."
Clr. Dara Mulvey said he was involved in such a scheme in Coolaney and they found it "very effective."