herald

Tuesday 6 December 2016

Gerry O'Carroll: Who's protecting us from the gangs? Burglaries are now an election issue

Eva Sutton
Eva Sutton
Dara Murphy
Dublin's Niamh McEvoy
Daniel Farrell and his partner Lorraine Smith rescued a woman from the fire at Cromcastle Court

The latest crime figures show a shocking increase in burglaries, which are up more than 8pc year-on-year.

Some 28,830 burglaries and related offences occurred across the country in the 12 months to the end of June.

Many of these crimes are being committed by highly professional organised criminal gangs.

They are targeting homes in the capital and in rural areas. Often they target elderly vulnerable people living in remote isolated areas off the beaten track.

In many cases these cruel and pitiless thugs have subjected their helpless victims to savage beatings and even torture.

Raiders

The recent case of Eva Sutton illustrates the brutality of these home raiders.

Eva is a 90-year-old woman who was attacked in her home in Bray, Co Wicklow on September 10 last. She was subjected to a horrific ordeal, tied up and beaten.

This frail old lady was hospitalised with a punctured lung, broken nose and fractured ribs.

Is it any wonder then that people are living in fear and dread of attack when they read of a case like Eva's?

We also read of how burglary gangs are using high-powered cars and night vision goggles to outrun and foil attempts by the gardai to intercept them.

Despite their best efforts, the gardai do not have the manpower to deal with this crisis - in Dublin or in rural areas.

Their most recent advice in response to growing public anger at the alarming upsurge in burglaries is to turn on all the lights in your home.

Predictably, this advice has been dismissed by many as worthless, a feeble response to the problem of organised and violent house-breakers.

It also emerged this week that surveillance equipment used by the Garda Air Support Unit is 20 years out of date.

This is just one more example of how the force has been starved of vital resources over the last number of years.

A moratorium on garda recruitment during the recession led to a disastrous reduction in garda numbers, which has seriously impacted on the effectiveness of the force.

Numbers

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors recently issued a statement calling for garda numbers to be increased from the current 12,800 to at least 17,000. Few would disagree with that.

Law and order, peace of mind and a sense of safety and security in their own homes is as important as financial security to most people.

The stress, worry and fear caused by a break-in (and many homes have suffered more than one in recent years) is damaging people's health. In some instances people are worrying themselves into the grave.

Politicians of all parties would do well to remember all of this as they come knocking in the next few months.

The break-in epidemic has now become an election issue.

 

When it's phone-a-garda if you need a taxi, is it any wonder we're cynical?

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A L'OREAL advert instantly came to my mind when I read of the extraordinary transport antics of Junior Minister for European Affairs Dara Murphy.

On September 14 last, Murphy - accompanied by his wife - was en-route to Dublin from Cork when his car broke down near Fermoy in the early hours.

He could have returned home and taken another flight later that day. That would have been the appropriate action to take.

Instead, the junior minister telephoned the gardai and after a discussion the officers took him to Dublin Airport, 200kms away. Because he's worth it, of course.

What a waste of garda manpower. Is there any wonder that there has been a public outcry over this unwarranted and inappropriate use of limited garda resources?

Murphy later appeared on the public airwaves to justify his actions - actions which were also criticised by the Tanaiste.

However, it does not surprise me in the least that he has not been admonished or taken to task by his party leader Enda Kenny.

This is a Taoiseach who promised the nation in 2011 that his Government would usher in a new era in politics - to end the sense of entitlement that many TDs carry.

But Murphy's behaviour is proof positive that nothing has really changed.

There's one rule for politicians and one for everyone else. You and I pay hundreds for a taxi (or just go home) while Junior Minister Murphy gets a lift from the guards.

Is it any wonder people are so cynical about politicians?

 

Dublin showed that ladies' time has truly arrived

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THERE was much coverage and praise of Dublin's footballers after their All-Ireland win over Kerry - and rightly so.

But another cohort of the county's players lined out at Croke Park last Sunday, and put in a performance that rivalled their male counterparts'.

Alas, the Dublin footballers, including Niamh McEvoy (above), were defeated by Cork in a close-run game.

One interesting thing was the turnout. A staggering 31,000 spectators attended the game - a figure which should make us all sit up and take notice.

Like most men I was guilty in the past of dismissing ladies' football as somewhat of a novelty that would never catch on. But I have long abandoned that macho attitude.

Last Sunday's game and attendance was proof beyond doubt that women's football has truly arrived.

 

Hero

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Daniel Farrell and his partner Lorraine Smith

Daniel Farrell is a real hero. The 41-year-old homeless man risked life and limb last week when he rescued a Coolock woman from a burning apartment.

If not for Daniel's swift actions the woman may not have survived. His rescue was swift-thinking and courageous and should be commended by all.

 

Zero

 

DEVELOPER Johnny Ronan's use of the notorious phrase 'Arbeit macht frei' in a statement to the Banking Inquiry was frankly bizarre. 

Ronan's said sorry, but he should hang his head in shame that he would use these words. His statement was an insult to the millions of innocent people slaughtered by the Nazis.

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