Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has said he believes it’s “well past time” to tackle rural crime in order to prevent those living alone from being terrified in their own homes this winter.
In a statement released to the Roscommon People yesterday (Wednesday), Deputy Fitzmaurice lamented the loss of community Gardaí in rural areas.
“I have long believed that when the local community Garda was lost to rural communities we lost contact with people on the ground. The community Garda knew what was going on in local areas and people had trust in them.
“We now have a situation where there might be one patrol car to cover a huge area. Those Gardai are doing their best but they cannot be everywhere. These thugs don’t just arrive into a farmyard without some kind of local knowledge being passed on so that’s where the community Gardaí would be invaluable.”
Deputy Fitzmaurice said one of his proposals to tackle the scourge of rural crime had been shot down by leading Gardaí.
“I proposed in the past that local communities around the country might have a van and that it would be manned at night by people just keeping an eye on what was going on but that was shot down by Garda Superintendents. They said that it was a vigilante situation but I would not agree. It was just people looking out for others in their own area.
“We have to do something. It is wrong that people are prisoners in their own homes afraid to go to sleep at night. Then we have the situation where a lot of these thugs are out on bail and are running riot around the country.
“I know that things like pepper spray and Taser guns are illegal in this country but people should have access to ways of defending themselves and it is something that we should consider.
“Instead of protecting the elderly people who are living in fear we are concentrating on how we can put people off the road in rural areas. It’s time we got our priorities right and protected the most vulnerable people in our society,” he concluded.