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In view of increasing serious crime there is an urgent and pressing need for the Government to appoint a minister with special responsibility for crime prevention.
There is little point in successive justice ministers offering loud commitments to reduce the spiralling crime rate when they accede to the continuing erosion of garda manpower levels, with retirement comprehensively outstripping recruitment.
And, with the situation already approaching crisis point in some urban centres, the next 12 months can only see a further deterioration of this serious problem.
The general public have a right to feel safe in their homes; our elderly need the protection and reassurance that a more obvious garda presence can give them.
This used to be a country where women and children, the old, the weak and the vulnerable went wherever they wished by day and by night. Now they are afraid to venture into the streets at any time — what has happened?
One reason must be the collapse of family authority; some parents do not bother to find out what their youngsters are up to, and feel no shame or regret when they turn to violent crime and violence.
Our urgent concern is how to curb it now and how to protect our old folk. The coalition government must move with speed to change this trend and restore garda manpower to a more acceptable level with gardaí seen patrolling our streets day and night. This is why the appointment of Minister for Crime Prevention must receive serious consideration.
Gardaí often come in for criticism — a lot of it unjustified — over soaring crime rates, particularly public order offences.
They are in the front line of alcohol and drug-fuelled thuggery every night of the week. And as they struggle to contain street fights, drug use and reckless motorists, they are often criticised for not doing enough to tackle “serious crime”.
Until the powers-that-be take positive action to not alone maintain the level of gardaí but to significantly increase it and in addition to appoint a Minister for Crime Prevention, there will be no downward trend in the crime rate.
Cllr Noel Collins
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