A 21% decline in Garda numbers in Donegal which has seen 101 fewer members on the beat has caused huge concern amongst the public.
The recently published Central Statistics Office figures show robberies, burglaries, drugs offences and violent assaults in Donegal all increasing with some at an alarming rate.
Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher says the reduction in Garda resources is having a direct impact on the increase in crime rates throughout the county.
He said “The figures show that unless extra resources are provided for Gardaí within the county they will continue to struggle to counteract the growing figures and instances of crime within our communities.
“It is time this Government realised that drugs, burglaries are not just an urban problem or issue alone, such crimes are routinely affecting all of our rural communities too but, unlike urban areas resources are not being directed to rural policing by this present administration.”
Pat the Cope added the most up to date CSO figures show a worrying 28% hike in assaults causing harm in Donegal, a 34% rise in burglaries and a 17%increase in controlled drugs offences in the county.
The Central Statistics Office has just resumed publication of Recorded Crime statistics, following a 12-month suspension resulting from quality issues with regard to An Garda Síochána PULSE data.
In Donegal last year (2017) the figures show there were 86 rape/sexual assault cases compared to 97 in 2016 ( a drop of 11 per cent).The figures show there were 246 reported assaults causing harm last year compared to 135 in 2016.
Deputy Galagher added it is truly shocking how Drug offences continue to rise in Donegal, by the end of last year (2017) there were a total of 294 controlled drug offences compared to 250 in 2016 ( a rise of 17 per cent).Notably, there were 49 cases of drugs for sale and supply compared to 36 in 2016.
He said “It is clear that the drugs problem within our county is spiralling out of control and most drastic intervention needs to be taken by the Government, otherwise the scourge of drugs will waste the lives of our younger generation within the county. In order to counter act drugs in our communities Gardaí need serious manpower and additional resources not unlike what is occurring in urban areas at present.
“But, rural drugs crime never seems to attract the same attention from Government as urban drug rates do and that is what is what happening here – rural drugs rates are up. In addition a total of 488 cases of criminal damage were detected by Gardaí across Donegal by year end while over 1,200 cases of Public Order offences are recorded.”
Pat the Cope called on the Gardaí authorities in Headquarters’ and the Minister for Justice to take action and immediately put in place a multi annual programme to reinstate Garda numbers with the Donegal Division, that the 21% decline in Garda numbers must be corrected and the full complement of Garda restored with the county.
“Furthermore, I call on the Minister to restore Glenties District Station to its former position within Garda command and accordingly rebuild the number of Gardaí serving in that district. It is also evident that the proper resourcing of Gardaí needs to take priority in the forthcoming budget – in order to counter-act the grow crime pressures rural areas are under at present, otherwise we will continue to fight a losing battle.
“Crime and the drugs menace effect all our communities and the consequences have devastating effects on everyone – the fight to make our homes and communities saver needs proper resources and above all a Government commitment to tackle the menace. I am challenging this Government to take action and to realise there is a growing crises in our rural communities,” concluded Pat the Cope.Tags: