Supporting Local News

Rural communities ‘living in fear of thugs’

Fears of rural families and businesses being threatened and robbed by travelling gangs of thugs have grown, after a recent incident that saw a woman in her 90s and her adult sons being held hostage and threatened while their home was ransacked.

That’s the claim from Galway Cllr Declan Geraghty, who claimed that there was a lack of Gardaí at night and in the early hours of the morning across the whole of North Galway.

And he pointed out that the recent violent burglary in the Ballintubber area of North Roscommon – around seven miles from Williamstown – has led to even more concern among isolated homeowners.

The 94-year-old woman and her adult sons were held hostage and threatened while their business and home were ransacked. One of the men in his 60’s was attacked; he did not need medical attention but was shaken in the incident.

The culprits made off with a small amount of cash and some jewellery.

Cllr Geraghty said that recent assertions by the Gardaí that they were able to respond to all night-time incidents were not accurate.

He now wants this raised at the September meeting of the County Galway Joint Policing Committee (JPC) as he believes that rural crime is still prevalent. That meeting will be attended by Garda Commissioner Drew Harris.

“We have rural Garda stations being closed and a lack of members on patrol and this is a great concern as we enter the winter months.,” he said

“Despite what the authorities will tell you, there are not enough Gardaí available at night-time when they are most required.

“I know this for a fact as I have listened to people who have been broken into during the early hours of the morning and cannot get access to a patrol car.

“The attack in Ballintubber was horrific when there was an elderly woman held hostage when her elderly sons were also confined to a room in the house,” Cllr Geraghty added.

The matter was also highlighted by Roscommon/Galway TD Michael Fitzmaurice who said that isolated rural communities were targets for crimes of this nature.

He described Ballintubber in North Roscommon as a quiet and peaceful village with a close-knit community that takes pride in its locality.

Deputy Fitzmaurice knew the people who were the subject to this attack, and it had struck fear into the heart of the community.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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