He wants more gardaí, equipped with essential tools for the job, and based in communities.
“We’ve had Garda numbers go down, we’ve had the population increase and have had crimes like burglaries increase,” he said
“So how on earth do you expect gardaí to do the job?”
And Gerry is, unfortunately, expertly placed to comment about policing resources and rampaging burglary gangs.
In April 2012, a masked four-man gang broke into the family home in Pallasgreen, Co Limerick, armed with a sawn-off shotgun, a sledgehammer, and a baseball bat.
Gerry was handcuffed and shoved to the ground. A gun was put to his head. All in front of his then 16-year-old daughter.
“They were threatening to kill me,” recalled Gerry, who works in Cork City.
Two of the gang went upstairs, to Gerry’s wife Anne and two of their other children. They shouted at them and threatened to kill Anne’s 16-year-old daughter. The gang left with around €4,000 in cash.
“My wife and children were very traumatised,” Gerry said.
Through a “lucky” break, gardaí in Cork stopped one of the getaway cars and apprehended two of the gang members. Four men have been before the courts to date and more cases may be taken.
“The family are doing pretty good,” said Gerry. “We got counselling which helped and it was a huge benefit that people were caught.”
He said a lot of people in rural areas were “living in fear”.
He referred to Doon village, where John O’Donoghue, 62, suffered a massive heart attack after disturbing burglars at his home last August.
“Doon is only five miles away,” he said. “It shows just how easy a target small rural communities area.
“My house has about 10 different ways to and from it, a huge network of country roads. That’s a contributory factor.”
He said “marauding gangs”, like the one that targeted him, operated up and down the country, making use of the motorway system.
Gerry said local gardaí were “terribly under- resourced”.
He said that at the time of his burglary, the Garda station in Doon had recently closed.
“In a 10-mile radius, we had one garda in Murroe, one to two on duty sporadically in Pallasgreen, and one in Cappaghmore.
“At night, we have one squad car to cover the three stations. It’s laughable. What is the point in paying gardaí a salary, but not give them the basic tools to do the job.
“They bought more cars last year, but they are still under-resourced.”
Gerry urged the Government to invest in local policing in the budget.
“We need more gardaí on the ground, properly resourced, with patrol cars and communications.”