Government commitments to increase garda numbers must be met following years of "serious depletion" of resources and manpower, resulting in "a spate of burglaries" in east Galway, which has left villages across the county "on edge".
This is the view of Fianna Fáil Galway East TD Anne Rabbitte, who is demanding the new Fine Gael-Independents administration "follow through" on its commitment in the Confidence and Supply arrangement with Fianna Fáil, to bring garda numbers to 15,000, and to support investment in CCTV at key locations along the road network and in urban centres.
“Over the past five years we have seen the serious depletion of Garda resources and manpower here in Galway, which has led to an increase in fear in many rural communities," said Dep Rabbitte. "Older people and people living in isolated areas have been disproportionately affected, but every village has been on edge to some degree."
Since 2011, the number of marked Garda patrol cars in east Galway has been cut – from 17 in 2011 to just 12 this year. Dep Rabbitte argues this "reduction in a visible Garda presence" impacts, not only on "Garda ability to fight crime", but also on community confidence levels.
“In east Galway we have witnessed a spate of burglaries over the past year, with many believing the motorway network is making it easier for travelling gangs to target nearby towns and villages," she said. "Without access to a sufficient Garda fleet these criminals are able to use the road network without fear of being apprehended by the authorities."