North West MEP, Jim Higgins, has called for a comprehensive country-wide Garda campaign against the “brutal criminals” who target elderly and vulnerable citizens in their homes.
“There has been a series of violent attacks on the elderly in the last few years. In some cases, burglars have not only stolen from these senior citizens but also physically harmed them,” Mr Higgins said.
The local MEP’s comments follow the very tragic and violent murder of two brothers Jack and Tom Blaine, aged 68 and 70, in Castlebar, Co Mayo in July. There has also been a number of high-profile aggravated burglaries involving senior citizens in Donegal.
“Older members of society have a right to feel safe in their own homes and in their daily lives. I think An Garda Síochána should examine new ways in which they can help protect these citizens,” he said.
“We need to ensure all pensioners have taken adequate safety measures at home so awareness of security such as personal or home alarms systems needs to be increased. The Gardai could launch a public information campaign, host more community engagement initiatives and increase visibility and patrols where possible.
“In my view, we are dealing with the very lowest form of criminality in terms of attacks on elderly people., These people have no respect for anyone and need to be reminded that the justice system will not tolerate these attacks. “For that reason, the authorities need to send a very strong signal to those perpetrators by apprehending them and handing down sentences that match the severity of the crime.
The Fine Gael MEP has made his concerns known to the Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter.