‘Rural Ireland now a playground for gangs’

Political indifference has turned rural Ireland into a playground for criminal gangs and drug lords.

The claim was made by Renua Ireland leader Cllr John Leahy who said “the only response to rising crime has been closing Garda stations”.

He said: “This has created the situation where, be it in the West, the Border, or the Midlands, the people are under siege from thieves and drug warlords intent on expanding their empires.

“Rural Ireland has become a playground for criminal gangs because of political indifference to the plight of rural communities. The Government has, over the last decade, staged a managed retreat from rural policing.”

Mr Leahy argued that criminals are capable of making risk assessments and have, in what he believes is the absence of rural gardaí, made the most of Ireland’s network of motorways.

In a jibe at Transport Minister Shane Ross, Mr Leahy insisted crime exists in areas other than Stepaside in Dublin, a reference to the Garda station there reopening.

“People are losing respect for a law system that only protects the rights of defendants,” said Mr Leahy.

“Thugs and gangsters have made a playground in rural Ireland. Virtual terror has been imposed on people, particularly in rural counties. Our culture, our lifestyle, has been taken away from us. We no longer can leave our key in the back door.”

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