I spoke at the first staging of a nationwide campaign on rural crime meeting of the Victims of Crime which took place last Thursday evening at the Anner Hotel in Thurles, where over two thousand people assembled with sixteen hundred gaining access.
The gathering was made up of different sections of communities rural and urban and senior officers of the garda.
Many of those who attended were victims of crime and robberies. The meeting was chaired by Paul Williams the well-known crime correspondent and the various issues of crime were debated, the intrusion by criminals travelling the countryside and many other large centres of population into family homes in the dead hours of the night. I highlighted the fact that serious crimes are continually being carried out in shops, commercial businesses, farms and agricultural depots and centres on a daily basis. I made reference to the massive crowd that had assembled in the Anner hotel to give a strong message that the people of rural and urban Ireland will no longer tolerate the lack of policing in our communities.
During my time as a councillor, I put forward many motions to Limerick County Council and the Limerick Policing committee with regard to the acceleration of rural crime by organised gangs who were terrorising many people in our own county and also throughout the country I campaigned for an increase in policing and garda personal to help stop these maundering criminal gangs.
The reopening of local garda stations were set aside with one sergeant supervising seven garda stations in the district of Croom, Rathkeale, Askeaton, Pallaskenry, Adare, Fedamore, Ballingarry and Castletown. Additionally, garda cars were also taken off the road and many of the remaining cars had reached their sell buy date. Several requests, during my time as a member of Limerick County Council, for the Templemore Garda training college to be reopened to further recruit additional members of the force, which has now commenced training.
The crowd were delighted to hear that the Late Late Show will be putting on a special programme on this Friday night October 16 which will give the message to Government and Government departments with regard to the non-policing and the depleted garda presence in our towns and villages.
I hope meetings like Thurles will be held in every county in Ireland so as to give a strong message to the powers that be that people will no longer remain silent with the destruction and family upheaval.
Patrick C. Fitzgerald