Parishes should organise volunteers to keep a watch over cars during major events such as Graveyard Sunday Mass.
This is the view of a town councillor and some priests, following two thefts in Letterkenny last weekend.
In both cases, money and items were taken from cars as the owners were attending Mass, in one case, in Conwal, Graveyard Sunday Mass.
Sinn Féin Gerry McMonagle told the Donegal Democrat that parishioners should keep watch over cars during big events. “It would be prudent to have volunteers. We normally have gardaí but they cannot be everywhere.” (See our story on page 5 for more)
In Donegal Town, Fr. William Peoples, PP, backed the call. “I would totally agree with that. People’s property should be protected. We would usually have volunteer stewards keeping watch on cars during any big events.”
Fr Eddie Gallagher, PP Kilcar, also agreed that more needs to be done to “protect vulnerable people and property in rural Ireland”.
He said: “The old style of community policing seems to have faded away and that leaves a lot of people vulnerable. In the 1980s, the gardaí knew everyone. Now, the criminals can pick out the vulnerable people to target, as we’ve seen in recent burglaries.”
Fr Francis McLoone, PP Killymard, added: “Thefts can occur at quiet times too, when someone is just popping in for a prayer.”
Fr Eamonn Kelly, Conwal & Leck, said there were both gardaí and stewards in Conwal on Sunday. “We have always had stewards at major events.
“But the cars went from Ballymacool Park to the filling station at Tullygay. How far out do you put stewards and for how long? It’s a problem we all have. If there was an easy solution, we’d be doing it.”