The news that the Government are to provide five million Euro for the provision of 260 new vehicles to assist in the fight against rural crime is welcome, but I hope that there are extra Gardai to operate these vehicles, especially in rural areas. I am aware that the Government have sanctioned 600 new Gardai, but it will be two years before those Gardai are trained and at least two years more before they would be able to drive these high powered vehicles. The Minister will have to redeploy Gardai to rural areas to provide re-assurance to communities who feel abandoned in recent years. In the last few days we have heard that extra officers were being sent to the Louth area but found out subsequently that these Gardai will come from the Cavan-Monaghan area which is also under pressure along the border. We need to see a real change in policing policy with regard to rural crime. Having the vehicles is essential but we need the Gardai to operate them as well.
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