An alarming rise in the number of break-ins across County Leitrim in recent weeks has led to calls for greater resources to be made available to gardai, especially in rural areas where the majority of stations are only open on a part time basis and garda resources are already stretched.
In the past four weeks alone 12 burglaries have been reported in the region, of these, 8 have been in the south Leitrim area with 6 of these targeting Ballinamore, Carrigallen and Aughavas. This figure doesn’t take into account a small number of burglaries which have occurred but remain unreported.
With claims in national newspapers that there are plans to close a number of rural, one-man garda stations as part of the Government’s bid to find €340m in savings by 2014, there are fears that rural Ireland will become even more of a target for roving gangs of thieves.
Although Justice Minister, Alan Shatter, has ruled out the closure of “hundreds” of garda stations as a result of budgetary cutbacks, he has refused to rule out small scale closures of stations in rural areas.
In Co Leitrim, Carrick-on-Shannon and Manorhamilton Garda Stations, which serve as District Headquarters, are both open to the public 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. However smaller rural stations are only open on a part time basis, generally 10am to 1pm Monday through Saturday and on Sunday from 12 midday to 1pm. At present in Co Leitrim there are 13 stations which are manned on this basis.
To read the full story see this week’s Leitrim Observer.