"The closure of our rural Garda stations and the subsequent rise in crime has been a thorn in the side of many of our rural communities for quite some time,” said Renua’s Mayo candidate, Michael Farrington. “The neglect of An Garda Siochana over the last three administrations, which included Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael, and Labour, has been an absolute disgrace and a disaster to many isolated and often vulnerable people in Mayo. One of the most important duties of the state is the protection of its people.
Farrington went on to say “After suffering massive cutbacks, and in spite of their best efforts, the Garda are obviously struggling to keep on top of their workload and are rarely seen out and about in public, on our roads and in the country towns and villages. Now, in another blow to public confidence and Garda morale, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has revealed that as of November 2015, there were a total of 29,233 bench warrants awaiting execution.” The Claremorris based candidate added that, in a written answer to a question raised by RENUA Ireland leader Deputy Lucinda Creighton on January 14, Minister Fitzgerald revealed that there were 313 warrants outstanding in Mayo.
Referring to the recently published RENUA Ireland Manifesto for the General Election, Mr Farrington pointed out that it contains comprehensive commitments on justice, including a 'three strikes rule'. He continued: “If elected, RENUA Ireland will introduce a three strikes rule for serious criminal offences, resulting in a mandatory life sentence on a successful prosecution of the third offence. Of course the three strike rule on its own will not resolve the problems of rural crime, it’s just one part of a comprehensive approach to reforming crime and justice. As the candidate for Mayo I am particularly interested in rural policing. At the moment rural divisions of police have much smaller numbers of Gardai assigned to dedicated community policing units and this has to change. If elected we would introduce rural engagement officers like those established in New Zealand, involving the prioritisation of locations across the country where citizens are more likely to be the victims of crime, with a focus on families, youth, road policing, organised crime and drugs."