'Shouting for manpower': Newcastle West Superintendent Tom O'Connor
TWO leading gardai in County Limerick have separately appealed for more resources as crime rises.
Newcastle West Superintendent Tom O'Connor said: “I am shouting for manpower.”
Bruff Superintendent William Duane remarked he “could do with another 40” after Cllr Noel Gleeson raised the lack of gardai “in a district the size of County Louth”.
Supt O’Connor and Supt Duane were speaking at Adare-Rathkeale and Cappamore-Kilmallock municipal district meetings respectively.
Compared to the first six months in 2016, property crime has risen by 23% in Bruff this year, said Supt Duane.
“They include quad bikes, trailers, farming equipment and tools. Burglaries are the most threatening for individuals and especially the elderly. They are up 4% from 47 to 49. Over the last two weeks there has been a crime spree in Bruff. One individual has been charged in relation to a number of burglaries,” he said.
Supt Duane said there has been a big increase in thefts from vehicles including recently outside Glenroe church. Massgoers came out to find four cars had been broken into with laptops and iPhones stolen.
Assaults were up but this was down to HIQA’s new policy on dealing with vulnerable people living in care facilities, he said.
“There has been a noticeable increase in criminal damage – up 67% from 24 to 40. This is linked to cars and property being broken into. There is a slight increase in public order but for the size of the area it is relatively quiet,” said Supt Duane.
Policing figures for the Newcastle West district show an increase in burglaries year on year from 35 to 49, said Supt O’Connor. Theft from cars at 31, was almost double the 2016 figure and criminal damage cases increased by almost 50% from 33 to 47.
But there had been a fall in the number of stolen cars, in thefts from shops and other thefts, the superintendent said.
In “shouting” for more resources, Supt O’Connor acknowledged there were issues of manpower, logistics and response time.
Supt Duane said gardai make every effort to get there “as soon as possible”.
“I am apologising for the response times. The area is so big and until we have proper resources… I know there is a plan in place to increase numbers and hopefully the Bruff district will get some.
“It takes 45 minutes to drive from Doon to Bruree. If we had more gardai the area would be more secure and safe,” said Supt Duane, who added they did get two extra gardai but then lost one. He said the current trials in Limerick city and Dublin have also been a “drain on resources” as gardai are tied up in court cases.
The latest figures show that the Bruff district has 43 members; Newcastle West 76; Roxboro Road 129 and Henry Street 310.
Cllr Adam Teskey, Ardagh, revealed that he has been the victim of crime and has had up to €500 worth of farm diesel stolen in the past three to four months. He said there is a lot of siphoning off of farm diesel taking place and farmers feel they are being targeted.
Then, last Sunday, while he and his father were driving tractors and farm equipment in convoy through Askeaton, a group of youngsters began pelting him with stones from behind a low wall on Church Street.
“I jammed on the brakes and the language was very colourful I assure you. If you break a back window in a tractor it is €1,000,” said Cllr Teskey. He phoned gardai and was told a car would be deployed from Henry Street.