Criminals are taking advantage of the reduced Garda presence in rural Ireland, says EU Parliamentary candidate Peter Casey.
Mr Casey made the comment following Good Friday’s ATM thefts in Kells, Co Meath.
“This week’s brazen ATM thefts in Kells took place less than 500m from the local 24-hour Garda station which indicates that criminals are having a free-for-all in rural Ireland.
“These callous raids send a clear message that criminals are taking advantage of the deficit in Garda numbers in the area. Many years of cutbacks to rural policing in Ireland is being felt across our towns and villages where our community Garda stations have been abandoned.
“Strong rural communities have been left without adequate policing resources and that is leaving them at increased risk.
“The hard-working gardaí serving our communities are under pressure and underpaid. In many towns such as Kells, they do not have the supports they need to provide the level of policing required. Our rural and border areas need increased Garda numbers and although the current recruitment drive is a step in the right direction, it will not be effective without improvements in Garda pay.
“Criminal acts like the ones experienced in Kells and other towns across rural Ireland in recent times will only increase unless adequate Garda resources are put in place.”