There are adequate Garda resources in the Castlebar Garda district according to the superintendent of Castlebar, Pat Diskin. At the town’s JPC meeting on Monday the superintendent said that Garda resources in Castlebar were not an issue and he also said that crime in the area had “reduced significantly” in the past year—down 56 per cent for burglary offences; assaults are down 38 per cent; public order offences are down 15 per cent; and there has been a 22 per cent reduction in criminal damage offences. “Crime is coming down with the resources we have,” but Supt Diskin added “we can’t be complacent.”
Councillor Blackie Gavin raised a matter which “bothers” him a lot, that of crimes against elderly people who live in the town core. Cllr Gavin said that recently on a Saturday night the glass was smashed on an elderly pensioner’s front door. The man, who lives alone, hit the panic button and gardaí responded. Cllr Michael Kilcoyne said that since the last JPC meeting the murder of the Blaine brothers took place, and he said people in the street are concerned about those who may be suffering from various mental health issues, as “when they flip, whoever in their sights gets it”. He said the JPC might not be the right forum, but it needs to be discussed as “somebody, somewhere should be responsible”.
Town Mayor, Cllr Noreen Heston, said that it had been a “shocking time for the town”. She said: “Since the deaths of Jack and Tom, I have become more vigilant as a neighbour.” The Mayor said that her thoughts and thanks were with the gardaí in Mayo, who have had to deal with two serious incidents in the county over the past few weeks.
Cllr Ger Deere also complimented the gardaí for the “support and reassurances” they gave to the people of Castlebar “during the quite traumatic time”. Cllr Deere also said it should be highlighted that there is no shortage of resources in Castlebar, “as there is a perception out there that there is a real lack of resources.”
Cllr Kilcoyne also raised concern about bullying going on in housing estates of children and adults, with this bullying being carried out “by and large by members of the Travelling community”.
Cllr Harry Barrett said the “tone and atmosphere” of Castlebar is being dragged down by loitering on Main Street by young people. The councillor said he received a call from a trader on the street who said that he is finding it hard to do business with the same faces loitering around and intimidating others. The councillor said he was glad that gardaí are to increase visibility on the street at key times with foot and bike controls.
Supt Diskin said that if people were being intimidated or bullied they needed to report the matter to the gardaí so that extra patrols and surveillance can be carried out and investigated.