SERIOUS damage has been done to two businesses in Mayo this past week during robberies.
The issue was highlighted by Senator Rose Conway-Walsh who said that upsurges in rural crime incidents should prompt action on recommendations for safe and proactive policing.
Conway-Walsh was speaking in the Seanad on the recent rise in thefts of ATM machines during break-ins in small businesses in rural areas.
She said: “The perception among many in rural Ireland is that they are at the mercy of organised criminal gangs as to where they decide to target next.
“I want to recommend the report of the Oireachtas Justice Committee, launched by my colleague Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin, which offers real actions to bring about effective and sustainable rural policing.
“Key recommendations include renewing funding for Muintir na Tíre for its Community Alert and Text Alert schemes aimed at easing rural isolation and the fear of crime.
“The IFA-operated Theftstop programme, which puts unique ID marks on property, should be expanded to include CESAR scanning equipment for police to track and locate stolen property across Europe.”
She continued: “Serious damage has been done to two businesses in Mayo this week during robberies. Just one such serious incident is enough to place already struggling businesses in danger of closing.
“SMEs are already being hammered by huge rates and ever increasing insurance premiums.
“With the rise in thefts of ATM machines comes the fear that yet more services will disappear from our rural towns. In many areas, due to branch closures and restricted services, the local ATM is the only way people can access their cash.
“Rural crime not only affects people living in rural areas but further threatens services and the very viability of rural life.”