There are serious concerns over crime figures which reveal that levels of recorded offences remain worryingly high right across the Finn Valley.
Several Garda stations having seen high percentage increases for offences including burglary, criminal damage, theft and attempts made to murder, assault and harassment since 2010.
While the figures from the CSO show that overall crime levels in the region have remained largely static over the past six years, burglary and theft have risen by more than 50 per cent in Ballybofey in 2014 compared with two years previous.
Reports of theft have risen by a staggering 82 per cent in Lifford for the same period.
While the data shows that the numbers of crimes relating to attempts or threats made to murder and assault were down slightly on average since the year 2010, in total there were 676 such cases reported to Gardaí between 2010 and September 2015 in Ballybofey, Carrigans, Castlefinn, Convoy and Lifford.
Responding tot he figures Cllr Gary Doherty said “As many of us know all too well, crime is something which continues to plague our county, and crime is a particular problem for border towns and right across the Finn Valley.
“As these figures show, crime rates for the region have remained quite static and haven’t improved a great deal over the last number of years.
“In fact, if we look at individual Garda Stations and focus in on particular offences, we will see huge increases of incidences of burglary in Ballybofey, which rose by over 56% in 2014 compared to 2012, while reports of theft in the town went up by a half.
“Again, if we look at damage to property, we’ll see that such cases are up by over 11% in Ballybofey and Lifford, with Lifford also seeing a massive 82% jump in theft and other related offences having been reported to Gardaí.
“In my own town of Castlefinn, recorded crime offences totalled 61 back in 2010, but this has gone up by as much as 47% to an average of 90 cases for each of the subsequent four years.
“In 2010 we only had one reported incident of kidnapping in the entire Finn Valley, and three years later we had five reported kidnappings in the region.
“One of the most disturbing aspects of this data is that in less than six years, the total number of attempts/threats to murder, assault or harass came to 676 recorded cases each of which were reported to Gardaí at the stations in Ballybofey, Carrigans, Castlefinn, Convoy and Lifford.
“While even one report of crime is one too many, the crime levels provided in this breakdown highlight that criminality is a serious problem in the Finn Valley and, for far too long, has been largely overlooked by successive Governments.
“The austerity agenda of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Labour has created the perfect environment for crime to flourish, and there remains a serious lack of resources available to help reduce incidences of criminality, such as the misguided decision by governments to close Garda stations in order to make measly savings to the exchequer.
“It is very often the poor, the isolated and the vulnerable who suffer most and the negative social consequences of austerity are being felt by communities who today live in constant fear because not enough is being done to tackle crime in our society.
“Sinn Féin has costed proposals to increase the number of Gardaí across the state by 3,000 and to reverse the closure of Garda stations that have left hundreds of communities around Ireland, including here in Donegal, at risk.”