Independent TD Mattie McGrath has called for the establishment of a taskforce to address the prevalence of intimidation and crime impacting rural communities.
Deputy McGrath called for extra resources to be provided for the gardaí to clamp down on the prevalence of criminal activities including lamping and hunting that currently have a devastating impact on rural communities.
Deputy McGrath spoke of a recent incident in Clonmel that saw a young farmer being assaulted by a gang, with gardaí not receiving adequate support to prevent and deal with such instances.
Addressing the Dáil during questions on policy or legislation, Deputy McGrath said:
“Last week I spoke about the issue of open drug dealing and intimidation in Clonmel town centre. Clonmel is a fine town with fine people. An incident happened on Friday night that saw a young farmer returning home and was confronted by a gang, beaten to the ground, kicked underneath his van and left there. It could have been a fatality. Will you do something to support the gardai in Clonmel? The numbers are appalling.
“The Gardaí there are doing their best but the management has a lot to answer for. Gardaí are in danger themselves, often in a squad car on their own in the middle of the night. Will you set up a taskforce to deal with the problem in Clonmel and the surrounding parishes?
“There are roving gangs intimidating all families, with instances of lamping which is illegal and hunting rabbits and hares unmuzzled, which is also illegal and we don’t hear anything about it. They are intimidating farmers, their wives and families. It’s almost out of control and the gardai are going to lose control of it unless you send in resources immediately.”
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