Taoiseach suggests security plan to deal with rural crime

Micheál Martin details burglaries, assaults and accuses Kenny of a weak response

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said a strategy could be drafted by the Minister for Justice and the Garda Commissioner. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said a strategy could be drafted by the Minister for Justice and the Garda Commissioner. Photograph: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

 

The Taoiseach has said he hopes a plan can be drafted to deal with the criminal gangs burgling houses and attacking homeowners throughout the country.

Enda Kenny said the plan could be drafted by Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald and Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan.

“Obviously, the situation is not as satisfactory as we would wish,’’ he said.

Mr Kenny said the Government had reopened the Garda training college in Templemore, with 500 new recruits, introduced consecutive sentencing and allocated €27 million for Garda vehicles in recent years.

He said the Garda Síochána could make the valid point there were an extra 61,000 community hours now available for policing.

The Taoiseach said a small number of gangs were responsible for carrying out the majority of burglaries and it appeared that many of them were high on substance abuse as they created fearsome damage.

Mr Kenny said the burglaries and the attacks on people were deplorable and he condemned them without reservation.

“I am glad that many of those, not all of them to date, have been brought before the courts and the law,’’ he added. He said it was most unfortunate that death had occurred in some cases.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin, who raised the matter, said the Taoiseach’s response was weak. “You are speaking like a commentator who is helpless to do anything about it,’’ he added.

Mr Martin said there was a harrowing account in the newspapers of the incredible trauma Mark and Emma Corcoran had endured at the hands of seven criminals who travelled from Dublin to burgle the Corcoran family home in Tipperary.

There was also, he said, the case of John O’Donoghue, in Doon, who collapsed and died when he came across intruders in his home.

“In the 12 months from June 2014 to June 2015. There were 28,830 burglaries in the country,’’ Mr Martin added. “That is an average of approximately 80 reported burglaries per day.’’

He said it was a truly shocking figure, but not the real figure. The Central Statistics Office (CSO) had admitted that many of the crimes went unreported.

“Indeed, farmer David Thompson, aged 75, has been burgled three times in the past two years, but he has not reported the incidents,’’ he added. “He said there is no point as there is no Garda presence.’’

Mr Martin said the Association of Garda Sergeant and Inspectors (AGSI) had specifically linked the surge in crime to the human impact of the closure of a total of 139 Garda stations across the country, which saved only €0.5 million.