Despite the much anticipated Ireland V Germany soccer match being shown live on TV last night, almost 2000 people choose to leave their television sets and gather instead in the Anner Hotel Thurles to issue a sharp rebuke to politicians and perpetrators of crime.
The message gleaned from this large attendance last night further confirmed, (if any confirmation was needed) that rural Co. Tipperary has been virtually turned into a detention centre for the victims of crime; latter victims in many cases now being forced to barricade themselves into their own homes on a nightly basis.
Those who addressed the meeting spoke of the increasing rise in burglaries and constant break-ins, which currently leaves Tipperary farmers, small businesses and home owners terrorised.
Loughmore native and Widow, Mrs Mary Morris, was just one of many who took to the floor at last night’s meeting to share her experiences and fears, after becoming the victim of such crime. Since 2011 Mrs Morrissey spoke of the effect this incident has had on her personally; informing those present that she now goes to bed every night with a loaded shotgun.
Other victims whose businesses had been targeted by criminals on multiple occasions spoke not just of their huge financial losses, but also of the mental and emotional consequences of their experiences, together with the vast financial costs of being forced to install extra security.
Vowing that last night’s meeting would not be the end of their campaign, numerous proposals were put forward to try and tackle the problem of repeated burglaries. These including:- the immediate removal of free legal aid for career criminals, the upgrading of trespass laws, the tagging of criminals and an immediate reform of our current Bail Laws which, despite Garda objections in many cases, allows for career criminals to continue reigns of terror on rural communities.
Speaking after the meeting, small groups of Tipperary residents argued for other measures:-
(A) Police work attempting to subdue crime gangs in Limerick city had been supported by the army. “This is not a case of limited government resources, rather a case of this governments failure to use resources already available”, stated one individual. “We can send our troops to endanger themselves on the Golan Heights and not so long ago we used them as armed security on cash-in-transit vans. Remember the use of the army against gangs in Limerick City! Time now to use them, under police supervision, to halt the movement of criminal gangs in Tipperary”, he continued.
(B) “Punishments do not always fit the crime; jail time is to easy”, stated another. “Offenders should be tagged and put publicly to work on rural social schemes, instead of further burdening the taxpayer”, he continued.
The meeting which lasted for almost three hours last night was chaired by crime journalist Paul Williams. A large Garda presence also attended at last night’s Thurles meeting; these included the Chief Superintendent of the Tipperary Garda Division Mrs Catherine Keogh, Assistant Commissioner Jack Nolan and Crime Prevention Officer Tom O’Dwyer, all who informed those present that they were limited in what they could truly achieve, due to limited resources.
Locals have now set up a new organisation in conjunction with the Gardaí, called ‘Save Our Local Community’ which it hopes will network to combat rural crime.