Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice, Martin Kenny TD, has said that much more must be done to ensure rural communities are protected from crime.
Teachta Kenny’s comments follow figures published by the CSO recently which show 40% of Garda stations nationwide recorded more criminal offences in 2021 than in 2019.
Teachta Kenny said:
“Figures published by the CSO show that the number of crimes reported have decreased by 16% since 2019, something which was largely due to the pandemic restrictions in place and increased Garda presence at the time. However, the increase in crime in a number of villages and towns across rural Ireland is deeply concerning.
“In Lismore in Co Waterford, a 162% increase in crime was seen between 2019 and 2021. Other villages and towns which saw a doubling in crime reports included Innishannon in Co Cork, Kilmore Quay in Co Wexford and Carndonagh in Co Donegal.
“The rise in crime rates in towns and villages was seen in criminal antisocial behaviour such as criminal damage and public order offences. In some cases, these are people within small, hardworking communities who may have difficulties in their lives which lead to drug or alcohol abuse, which may escalate into this type of criminal behaviour.
“And while people must always be held accountable for their actions, we also need to see a holistic programme of investment and measures to tackle these root causes of anti-social and violent behaviour.
“Overall, the largest increase in offences across the state was seen in offences related to fraud, theft, and kidnapping. This requires immediate and robust action from government. It is vital that the public feel safe and know that they are protected.
“It is crucial that Gardaí are properly resourced to prevent and detect crime. Fraud and burglary are of course reminiscent of the main category of crimes encountered during the last recession when Templemore was closed and Garda budgets were slashed repeatedly.
“We need an increase in rank and file Garda numbers, to ensure sustainable visibility throughout local communities. Targeted, community-based policing is required in order to respond to the specific needs of local communities across the state.
”There is also a clear retention crisis in An Garda Síochána and this is something government has yet to remedy.
“I will continue to engage with stakeholders in relation to these issues and to identify a clear roadmap to ensure our communities are safe and protected.”