It is now clear that the problem of rural crime is growing with every passing week and as more and more people are suffering at the hands of thieves and criminals.It is time that the Government and the Minister for Justice woke to the fact that the Gardai are woefully under resourced and that criminals are now roaming around rural Ireland carrying out crimes with very little chance of getting caught. The amount of burglaries and break ins particularly in rural areas is now at epidemic levels and the Government must fund the Gardaí properly so that they can do their job properly. This crime wave is not the fault of the Gardaí it is the fault of the Government who have totally neglected the force.
The situation in some areas is now so serious that rural communities will have to address this situation themselves and deal with it if nothing is done. We need the Taoiseach and Minister Fitzgerald and the Garda Commissioner to meet to formulate a realistic plan to tackle the rural crme wave that we have at the moment and we need the Gardaí to immediately receive the resources that they require to put these criminals out of business. The culture of fear that exists in rural Ireland with regard to crime has to be tackled head on.
I have said previously in the Dail that the new Garda commissioner should have been appointed from outside the force. I am aware that morale in the Gardaí even at higher levels within the force is very low at the moment and that needs to be tackled. The comments made by hurling star Lar Corbett in the Sunday papers should be noted. Communities are going to take matters into their own hands if there is no change because people are not going to take any more. Finally, the policy of closing local rural Garda stations needs to be looked at again. This is something that I will be raising with the Minister at the earliest opportunity.