Dáil hears of 'real crisis' in rural crime levels

The Dáil has heard claims that rural crime has reached crisis levels.

The house last night debated a Fianna Fáil motion calling for more Garda recruitment and the re-opening of rural Garda stations.

It is also proposing more CCTV cameras in communities, and electronic monitoring of repeat offenders.

Cork North-West TD Michael Moynihan says a recent public meeting he attended illustrated the mood in rural Ireland.

Mr Moynihan said: "It could have gone on for hours with peoples' genuine experiences of the fear - young people, old people - right across the spectrum in relation to crime across our communities.

"I think we need a message to go clear and strong that this is a real crisis that's facing our communities."

The Justice Minister has defended the Government's record on tackling rural crime.

Minister Charlie Flanagan told the Dáil he understood the real concerns of people in rural Ireland, but he said initiatives like Operation Thor has made a real difference.

Mr Flanagan said: "This concentrated activity on the part of An Garda Síochána has produced in the region of 6,130 arrests and 6,920 charges covering a range of offences which, in addition to burglary, include the handling of stolen property, the possession of firearms and many drugs offences."


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