Kilmaine to host public meeting on crime tonight
Someone is going to get shot in south Mayo such is the tension there over crime and worries over garda cuts.
That was the firm view of one of the many burglary victims in South Mayo in recent months.
In the wake of the closure of six rural garda stations in Mayo last Thursday, a public meeting on crime and cuts to garda resources in the county will be held in Kilmaine tonight. Local man Eamon Ryan, who had almost €10,000 in cash and jewellery stolen from his house last November said people are ‘on edge’.
“Especially for old people, who are at home a lot, the amount of break-ins is very frightening, to think this kind of thing is going on so much locally. Someone will get shot because people are very much on edge,” Mr Ryan told The Mayo News yesterday.
His home was broken into on a Saturday evening when he and his wife were at a function. He believes local information is definitely being used by criminal gangs who have hit Mayo in recent months.
“There is nearly always someone in our house so they must have been told by someone who might know where we were going that we’d be out. A neighbour of ours always goes to Mass on a Saturday evening but she stayed in that night because there was a local person on Winning Streak and she wanted to watch it. They were coming in the back door when she heard them and disturbed them.
“That was at 7.20pm and our house was done afterwards, between 7.20pm and 8.50pm. They even knew what rooms to go to. Another house, about four or five miles in the road towards Ballinrobe was also done that same evening,” he said.
And on the night in question the Ryans found it difficult to get gardaí to get to their house quickly.
“It was the day of the Children’s Referendum and when we rang the gardaí they couldn’t come because they said they were collecting the boxes from the referendum polling stations. The garda who called was very apologetic but the criminals knew that the gardaí would be tied up that night,” added Eamon Ryan.
Mr Ryan is a meat distributor and admitted that he used to have cash in the house, until this burglary. A total of €4,000 in cash was taken and in the region of €5,000 in jewellery but that, for him, wasn’t the worst part.
“The invasion of our privacy was the big thing. To think that strangers were in your house and going through all your stuff, that’s the worst part,” he said.
Tonight’s meeting gets under way in Kilmaine Community Hall at 8pm and will be addressed by Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Niall Collins TD, Garda Superintendent Joe Doherty (Claremorris) and Mayo Garda Crime Prevention Officer, Sergeant Tony Cosgrove, together with IFA and GAA representatives. The meeting has been called by local Fianna Fáil Cllr Damien Ryan.
“I have been inundated with people calling for a meeting. It is not just the closure of garda stations that is an issue, it is gardaí numbers generally. These cuts are a retrograde step.”