A Buncrana councillor has claimed that on one night - Monday, October 17th - there were seven incidents of either robbery or attempted robbery in what he described as the ‘relatively confined area’ stretching from Buncrana to Bridgend.
And while he told the ‘Journal’ that he accepts the Gardai’s ‘hands are tied’ in regard to manpower and other resources Buncrana councillor, Ciaran McLaughlin, claims the current government’s cutbacks are giving the green light to Inishowen’s criminals.
Speaking with the Journal yesterday Councillor McLaughlin said he had serious concerns about the whole issue of criminal activity in Inishowen and would be raising them as a matter of urgency with the relevant authorities.
He said: “I will be raising this whole issue at today’s (Monday’s) meeting of the Joint Police Committee in Buncrana. I am very concerned about what is going on.
“The seven incidents I have mentioned are only the ones I have learned about personally.
“In one incident at Slavery a woman parked her car at night only to come out in the morning to find all four doors open, the contents of her bag, which she had left in the car, scattered all over the place and all her credit cards and money gone.
“Another man heard his dog barking and got up to give off to quiet the animal only to find a guy in a balaclava trying to get in his window. He chased the fella off.
“I have also been told that a man had his car stolen while there were two incidents in Connorberry Wood here in Buncrana and two incidents in the Newtowncunnigham/Bridgend area.”
But it is what happened next, according to Councillor McLaughlin, that concerns him.
“This family contacted the gardai at 2.30 a.m. and were told that a car would be sent out at 6 a.m.
“I don’t know what the reason behind this was but even I can figure out there isn’t much point sending out a garda car to the scene of a robbery or attempted robbery more than four hours after the event. The perpetrators will be long gone.”
The Sinn Fein councillor said he had called to the Garda Station on Friday but had not got any real satisfaction as the gardai had told him they couldn’t give him any information.
He commented: “The reality is we have a sort of perfect storm at the minute in that the economic situation is causing a lot of hardship out there. This is being used by some people to engage in criminal activity. And the government is just adding to the misery by cutting back on Gardai numbers.
“I accept that the local gardai’s hands are tied in regard to numbers and what resources they have but in my opinion what is happening now is giving the green light to criminals. There must be guys sitting rubbing their hands and thinking Christmas has come early.”
The Buncrana councillors said his party’s two Donegal TD’s, Padraig MacLochlainnn and Pearse Doherty would be raising the whole issue of Gardai numbers in Donegal with Justice Minister, Alan Shatter.