I’ve always been outspoken on the serious issue of crime across Kildare North and how it has affected our communities and have looked at ways to stem that. On a national level as part of our policy proposals for the upcoming General Election, Fianna Fáil is prepared to take immediate and bold action to tackle the growing crime wave hitting rural Ireland. The party will put in place a seven point plan which will seek to address the crime epidemic in rural Ireland and ensure communities can live in security and without fear. As we’re all too well aware, rural Kildare has suffered considerably in this current crime wave.
It was announced recently that 5 new garda recruits were to be allocated to Kildare. The latest figures made available to Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesperson Niall Collins shows there were 300 gardaí attached to Kildare in February this year, down from 324 in April 2011. The loss of 24 gardaí to police our communities cannot be undone with an additional 5 garda recruits.
It is extremely important that Garda recruitment and the training of new officers is continuing but I think the Government needs to ramp up its efforts in this regard. The strength of the garda force nationally is now around 12,500 and there are a further 1,498 officers eligible to retire this year. This would leave the force at a seriously diminished level.
There needs to be immediate action on the rapid rise of burglaries, thefts and related crimes in the Naas area during the past year. The latest figures from the Central Statistics Office show that there were 958 reported burglaries at Naas Garda Station in 2013. That’s up 131 from 827 burglaries in the previous year.
With the closure of stations in rural communities around Naas in 2012, we’re seeing a rise in burglaries and theft in these parts. Residents in isolated areas and even in villages are becoming increasingly nervous in their homes.
A meeting was recently held with a view to setting up a community alert scheme in Sallins. Such schemes are already up and running in several local areas and have proved effective in crime prevention. I have worked with the group in Kill, Kilteel and Ballymore Eustace previously and representatives of the Kill Community Alert attended the recent Sallins meeting. We were very grateful for their time and very useful advice. If you would be interested in getting involved with setting up such a scheme in Sallins, please let me know.
Following the Garda station closure earlier this year, I have been working with local Garda management to provide alternatives for local policing in Kill village and surrounds. The great news is that Superintendent Ian Lackey in Naas Garda Station has now committed to the provision of a Garda clinic in Kill to be held weekly.
The clinic will be located at the Parish Office and will be held every Tuesday from 12.30pm to 2.30pm. The clinic is on a trial basis and will be reviewed again in the new year based upon levels of activity and on demand from the community. Many thanks to Superintendent Lackey for agreeing to the clinic and further thanks to Fr. Willie and the parish for use of the room.