“It’s gotten to the stage where people are so frightened that some living on their own lock themselves in their bedroom at night and leave 50 euro on the kitchen table. That is no way to live and the fact that this is what’s going on before these proposed massive closures makes it all the more worrying.” Deputy Thomas Pringle speaking in the Dail on 20th November 2012
Yes, Irish society has finally broken down to levels last seen in Mad Max and in Donegal, householders in isolated rural areas have taken to leaving €50 on the kitchen table, before they go to bed at night, as a sacrifice to burglars so that they won’t cause injury or worse.
It would be comical if it weren’t true, and in the Dail this afternoon, the Independent TD for Donegal South West, Thomas Pringle challenged An Taoiseach about closure of rural Garda stations which has led, according to Deputy Pringle, to burglars operating with impunity in areas of Donegal. It was Deputy Pringle who asked Enda Kenny if he was aware of the practice of Donegal householders leaving burglary money out on the table at night.
Donegal is also the county where it was revealed during the summer that a member of the public was asked to give a Garda a lift to the burglary scene.
The serious points being raised about cut-backs in An Garda Siochana are going unanswered. Taoiseach Kenny this afternoon referred more than once to the waste of a “Garda sitting by himself in a 100-year old building by himself on a Wednesday afternoon” but at least 39 stations have closed so far since this Government has come to power and more closures are imminent. The Government says that compared with Scotland which has a population of 5.2m and 306 police stations, that the 700-odd Garda stations in Ireland is excessive. There has been a freeze or “moratorium” on Garda recruitment since March 2009 and the force saw 722 retirements in 2009, 362 in 2010 and 436 retirements in 2011 and is likely to have about the same in 2012, this from a force of 13,900 at the end of 2011 plus 2,000 civilian support staff and 800 Garda Reserve members.
Despite what An Taoiseach says, there has been a major reduction in headcount and presence of An Garda Siochana in the State.
The latest crime statistics from the CSO confirm that burglary has ballooned. There were 28,623 reported burglaries in the year to June 2012, up 10.3% from 25,960 in the previous year.