herald

Friday 9 December 2016

'Burglars targeted my home five times in two years', says FF's White

Senator Mary White shows damage caused to her door
Senator Mary White shows damage caused to her door

A senator whose home has been targeted by would-be burglars five times in the past two years has vowed to fight to re-open her local garda station if she is elected to the Dail.

Fianna Fail candidate Mary White said break-ins and att- empted burglaries have been happening more frequently since Stepaside Garda Station closed in 2013.

"The number of people who have been affected is extraordinary," she said.

"We need to see gardai on the beat, we need a garda presence. It was folly for the Government to close Stepaside Garda Station."

Precautions

Ms White said thieves tried to force their way into her Ballinteer home five times while she was lying in bed at night

The areas around her home in South County Dublin have seen crime increase by 42pc since September 2014.

North Dublin has also seen a spate of burglaries, including three in Clontarf and one in Coolock on Saturday.

The senator said she has been forced to take precautions to protect her property.

"I have a sliding door and they tried to break it," she said.

"It was broken once before, but I have a new one now and they say it can't be broken.

"You need to have everything in place. You need alarms too, and I tell the senior citizens in the area not to answer their doors at night."

Ms White said the most recent robbery she encountered happened while a gardener working at her home had equipment stolen from his van.

"He was cutting my grass a few weeks ago and someone was opportunistic and took all of the tools from his van," she said.

"Senior citizens feel very vulnerable when they hear such things."

Ms White said an increased garda presence in the area through re-opening Stepaside Garda Station would help to reduce crime.

One home in the area was targeted by thieves the day after the garda station closed.

The burglars had used the grounds of the building to carry out the crime.

However, Ms White said that proximity to the M50 and Luas access was also an issue.

"Fianna Fail said they will put up CCTV at key locations on the motorways and I personally believe that there should be gardai on the Luas so that they can get on and off and spot thieves," she said.

"The bottom line is that it is easy access and easy exit from the M50 right into the heart of the Dublin-Rathdown area."

Ms White said public order was now an issue in the area.

However, she added that the recent crime spree had made her more determined to make sure Stepaside Garda Station was re-opened.

"There's ad hoc vandalism in Stepaside too, so the gardai in Dundrum have had to put a community guard in place there now," she said.

Urgent

"The community guards do a great job, but it's not the same as having a garda station. Stepaside needs to be re-opened."

The senator said a meeting will be held to discuss the issue, but added that urgent action is needed to prevent further crime.

"In the Dublin metropolitan region there has been an increase of 42pc in the number of burglaries," she said.

"The Government also cut the telephone grant and that also leaves senior citizens in a vulnerable position.

"I have been at two meetings here about crime, and at least 65pc of those attending were victims of burglaries or attempted burglaries. It's very worrying."

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