The PSNI in Derry has been so successful in cracking down on the city’s criminals it is driving them over the Border into Inishowen.
That’s the view of Councillor ‘Black Mickey’ Doherty who told the ‘Journal’ the level of concern about the growing number of criminal incidents in the Quigley’s Point- Muff area was such that last night they were holding a specially convened meeting in Quigley’s Point to discuss the issue.
“Crime in Derry is down big time while most of those involved in rising criminality in this area are from across the border. That’s fact.
He went on: “Strange vehicles are no longer being ignored in townlands. Muff and Buncrana Garda Stations are getting 30 to 40 calls a week from the public; they wouldn’t have got that in a year a couple of years back.”
Colr Doherty said while he did not have a major issue with the controversial closure of some of the garda stations throughout the country - ‘a lot of them weren’t being used anyway’ - he was unhappy with the approach taken in regard to Border patrols.
“For years there was a sergeant and four gardai based in Muff. Now there is a sergeant and two gardai. We certainly need to get more patrols on the ground to send a message out to these criminals.”
His comments come following a botched hijacking which took place last Saturday night at the Iskaheen Road in Muff. A young local man had stopped to help a person lying on the road but as he did so it was driven away by another youth who had lain hidden. However, the driver was in such a panic he not only drove off without his accomplices he also crashed just a few hundred yards away at a tight bend. His two accomplices, who were not in the vehicle at the time, then tried to make their getaway on foot but due to the quick response of the local Garda and the local community they were apprehended.
According to one woman locally, who asked not to be named, local people were delighted that the culprits, one of whom was said to be little more than 13/14 years old, were caught.
She added: “God help anyone injured or whatever on this road now - who, in their right mind, is going to stop to help?
“And we all feel terribly sorry for the young man who got his car wrecked. It was a beautiful vehicle that he maintained with the greatest care; it was his pride and joy.
“Saturday night was the kind of high drama in the Muff area we can do without.”
Meanwhile, Colr Doherty said there were ‘big issues’ involved in the crime rate rise in Inishowen that needed to be addressed.
“The economic situation is playing a role in the crime rate; there’s absolutely no doubt about that. There are people turning to crime now because, perhaps, they were used to money they don’t have now
“ And the new political situation in the north has unleashed a whole host of criminals who are now working along the border right up from South Armagh to Donegal.
“In Inishowen we are on the hinterland of the fourth largest city in Ireland and the criminals there now know that with all the cutbacks in garda numbers and over time hours they can have a fair expectation they won’t be caught.
“They make a choice - where are the easiest pickings? Answer - here in Inishowen.”