Strokestown bank hostage situation raised with Minister for Justice

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Strokestown bank hostage situation raised with with Minister for Justice

Gardai are investigating the robbery.

Fianna Fáil TD for Roscommon/Galway Eugene Murphy has called on the Government to provide more Gardai to rural areas in light of a recent bank robbery in Strokestown, County Roscommon where two young people one of whom has special needs were held hostage during a bank raid. Deputy Murphy raised the matter with the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan during Questions on Promised Legislation in the Dáil on Tuesday.

“In a Programme for a Partnership Government, it was announced that there would be an extra 1,100 members of the Garda. I welcome that this is happening throughout the country and in my own constituency. However, counties like Roscommon are far below where they were. We have lost five Garda stations and we still have a major issue with policing.

“About two weeks ago in Strokestown, a daring robbery took place at the Bank of Ireland. At the time, it was a very frightening experience. It has now emerged - I do not know why it has not come out before now - that two young people, one of them with disabilities, were held hostage for quite some time. This is shocking.

“While the efforts of local Gardaí were outstanding, these culprits got away. There is no sign of them and nothing has happened. I ask the Minister to look into exactly what happened and the full facts of the robbery. I ask him also to ensure we get more Gardaí on the beat in all of our counties and towns, in particular Roscommon and Strokestown,” said Deputy Murphy.

The Fianna Fáil TD said that only 15 new Garda recruits have been assigned to the Roscommon/Longford division since 2015.

Replies to recent Parliamentary Questions tabled by Deputy Murphy also show that since 2014 to date in 2018 there have been a total of 42 Garda retirements in the Roscommon/Longford division while there have been a total of 98 retirements in the Galway division.

The Fianna Fáil TD said that rural Ireland was getting a raw deal on security and people are upset. “When are we going to have real security in rural Ireland? People are scared and we need to address this urgently,” said Deputy Murphy.

Deputy Murphy said that it was very difficult for communities to work with Gardai when many of these communities had been raided of Gardai resources.

Deputy Murphy also pointed out that a number of stations across County Roscommon had closed in recent years including Tarmonbarry, Ballintubber, Ballyforan and Knockcroghery.

Deputy Murphy said that rural communities have been hit time and time again.  “Fear levels have increased, particularly in areas which have seen Garda numbers drop-A strong Garda presence is an extremely important tool in the fight against crime,” concluded Deputy Murphy.