Criminal activity increased in area during Papal visit

By Maurice Garvey

THE Papal visit to Ireland last month led to an increase of criminal activity across areas of South Dublin County.

Speaking at the joint policing meeting in Tallaght, Superintendent Ian Lackey said the weekend was “targeted” by criminals who “knew resources were stretched”.

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He cited the robbery of a car and an off-licence in Rathfarnham as one such example.

For Rathcoole residents however, crime has not decreased since the Papal visit.

Stephen Kelly, owner of Sonic Security Systems on Main Street in Rathcoole, said they have seen a sharp increase of homeowners upgrading their security systems in the last month.

“We have had a huge amount – mostly homeowners – looking to upgrade to a monitor system,” said Kelly, who also noticed an increase of local shop owners wanting to check their CCTV for shoplifting.

He continued: “Normal alarms go off and you depend on the siren to scare them off, but monitor systems ring you and you get instant verification on your phone. When you ring gardai and tell them you can see them, that gives it priority.”

Recent garda statistics for the first eight months of 2018 in Rathcoole show a 46 per cent increase in burglaries – 82 reported this year until the end of August.

Not a visible police presence

At the recent policing meeting in Tallaght, Fianna Fáil TD John Curran said anecdotal evidence from residents was “there is not a visible police presence” in Rathcoole and the burglary statistics “supported their claim”.

Currently as it stands, Rathcoole has 14 garda personnel attached to the station, according to the Department of Justice database.

Deputy Curran has often raised the issue of garda numbers at Rathcoole in the Dáil.

In May, he told Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan that the 40 per cent decline of garda numbers in Rathcoole since 2014 was way “out of line” with other stations in the DMR West Division.

“What is particularly concerning is that the rate in crime has steadily increased and the population is ever increasing in the areas of Rathcoole, Saggart, Newcastle and Citywest with ongoing development,” said Curran.

One Rathcoole resident who contacted The Echo, said their home was burgled during the Papal visit, and that a patrol car eventually attended the scene from Ballyfermot.

Superintendent Brendan Connolly, from Clondalkin Garda Station said he is unable to place a Sergeant in Rathcoole at the moment due to lack of resources.

Referencing the new recruits, Supt Connolly said they are “young and need to be trained” but there was a “need to put experienced people” in Rathcoole.

He said he was hopeful of addressing the personnel issues in Rathcoole as soon as possible.

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