On the day Grangemockler garda station closed, South Tipperary TD Mattie McGrath told the Dail that the Government were aiding and abetting criminals by continuing to strip rural areas of garda stations.
Deputy McGrath availed of his first opportunity to take Leaders Questions in the Dail on behalf of the Tecnhical Group to raise the issue of garda station closures.
Stepping into his new role as Technical Group Leader for this Dail term, Deputy McGrath raised increasing crime and lack of effective policing. He has been appointed to take Leaders Questions on behalf of the Technical Group for the coming term and the Tipperary TD took the opportunity to raise the increasing levels of crime and the difficulties that the Gardaí face in trying to carry out their jobs as a result of the on-going cuts and Garda Station closures on the first day of the return of the Dáil.
He claimed that crimes on elderly people and families are happening as a direct result of the Government’s policies and that the Government are aiding and abetting criminals by continuing to strip the rural areas of their garda stations.
Deputy McGrath asked the Government to consider launching a public information and awareness campaign on security. He praised the work of Muintir na Tíre and Community Alert and while he thanked the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local for reversing the cuts to the Senior Alerts Scheme and asked for further money to be put into the area to ensure that people feel safe in their homes.
“I ask the Tánaiste and the Government to consider launching a public information and awareness campaign on security and on the matter, as was done in the past, of keeping cash in their homes because they are afraid to keep it in any of the institutions, the guaranteed ones or otherwise. By doing that they would support Muintir Na Tíre and all the other groups that are helping to fit safety alarms and equipment.”
He also asked the Tánaiste and the Minister for Justice and Equality to visit some of the homes of the people who have been attacked with the Gardaí and to deal with this very serious matter.
“I ask for further money to be put into this area because people must be safe in their homes. If they cannot sleep in their beds at night it leads to ill health and to them moving out of their homes and being afraid to return to them. I ask the Tánaiste and the Minister for Justice and Equality to visit with the Gardaí some of the homes of the people who have been savagely attacked not only once but in some cases twice or three times. No place is safe from attack any more not even not church sacristies. I ask the Tánaiste to deal with this issue in a serious manner.”
Deputy McGrath also spoke of the low morale in an Garda Síochána and asked the Tánaiste to speak to the Garda Commissioner on the matter because the “real story is not getting across to the Minister for Justice and Equality”.
In relation to his new role, the Deputy said that he was looking forward to having the opportunity to question the Taoiseach and the Government on a weekly basis on matters of national importance and he thanked his Technical Group colleagues for giving him the opportunity.