Security concerns for people in rural areas

Fine Gael Deputy Joe McHugh has admitted he is “very concerned about the security of people who live in rural areas” and led a delegation from Fine Gael who met Donegal Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn.

Fine Gael Deputy Joe McHugh has admitted he is “very concerned about the security of people who live in rural areas” and led a delegation from Fine Gael who met Donegal Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn.

In a statement issued on Thursday evening as part of his weekly review, Deputy McHugh said: “I am very concerned about the security of people who live in rural areas and who are frightened today by the threat of burglary.

“This month I met with the Minister for Justice about the matter, and I led a delegation of Donegal North-East Fine Gael representatives that met with An Garda Síochána Donegal Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn. I also raised the issue during Dáil Éireann debate on policing. I have asked the Chief Constable of the PSNI and the Garda Commissioner to appear jointly before the Oireachtas Committee on the Implementation of the Good Friday Agreement to discuss cross-border policing.”

Commenting on the closure of Garda stations today across the Republic, Sinn Féin described the move as a “savage attack on Rural Ireland”.

The closure of 96 garda stations on Thursday was described as a “savage attack on rural Ireland” by Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty and Padraig MacLochlainn.

The Deputies said: “The closure of five garda stations - Malin, Annagry, Glencolumcille, Brockagh and Churchill – is a serious blow to rural Donegal, which has already disproportionately suffered under the cuts regime imposed by this and the previous government.

“Both the Irish Farmers’ Association and the Garda Representatives Association, the representatives of rural Ireland and of the vast majority of Gardaí, have repeatedly rejected these ongoing station closures as they know the value of community policing. These are people who know rural communities unlike those who are in charge of drafting these proposals.

“We have witnessed in recent times the disgusting attacks on vulnerable and elderly in their homes and while we commend the response of Gardaí to these incidents, it is clear that now is not the time for the Government to prioritise cost saving measures at the expense of community safety.

“It is difficult to see how the removal of a Garda base in many rural areas, with increased response times and greater detachment from the community they serve, will result in greater efficiencies in the long term. There may be a short term monetary saving but at what price? It is clear that today’s closure of rural Garda stations represents simply another cutback to frontline services, dressed up as reform.”