calls have been made for the retention of rural garda stations following two separate burglary incidents in recent days. In both cases shop ATM’s were targeted in the early hours of yesterday morning.
The first incident involved a number of men entering Moorefield Service Station service in Ramelton at approximately 12.20am taking cash from an ATM on the premises.
A short time later a gang entered a Kernans Spar service station in Newtowncunningham at 1am. Again the target was an ATM with a sum of cash taken.
Both stations were closed for business at the time and the culprits got away with an undisclosed amount of money.
Donegal North East TD Charlie McConalouge said: “It has never been more important to maintain a strong garda presence in the community”.
“These weekend burglaries are a worrying development particularly in the wake of last week’s figures highlighting an increase in burglaries in the Letterkenny division. The situation is exacerbated by the ongoing threat from dissident republicans. While I appreciate the need to manage costs and reduce spending, closing garda stations and reducing garda numbers is not the way to do it,” Deputy McConalouge stated.
Garda Inspector Pat O’Donnell says the investigation is focusing on the belief that both incidents were carried out by the same gang.
In the Ramelton burglary they damaged the ATM removing a “substantial” amount of money.
He said the gang then cut their way through a shutter at the Newtoncunningham store, possibly using an angle grinder before taking cash from their bank machine.
“The two machines were inside and in both cases they gained access to the shops and the alarms went off but they were only in there a couple of minutes before they had the machines opened and the cash taken out,” he stated.
Gardai are seeking information from the public who may have observed anything suspicious.
They believe the gang consisted of three men in balaclavas who used a silver Audi type car to make their escape.