Kildare burglary spike prompts call for increased Garda numbers

KILDARE North TD, Catherine Murphy, has begun a campaign to get more Gardai for the Kildare area.

KILDARE North TD, Catherine Murphy, has begun a campaign to get more Gardai for the Kildare area.

At a public meeting organised by her in the Springfield Hotel, Leixlip on 12 November members of the public expressed anger and concern at the number of burglaries in particular in the north Kildare area.

There had been fifteen the previous week in Leixlip and 36 in Celbridge for the previous month.

Some people spoke emotionally about losing items such as jewellery which was stolen from their ransacked homes.

Deputy Murphy has been a persistent campaigner for extra Gardai for Kildare.

Using official figures supplied to Dail Eireann she said that Kildare, with around 660 people for every Garda, was only half as well resourced as other districts around the country.

In Sligo/Leitrim District there is a Garda for every 318 people and in the Dublin the figure is 324. The national figures is 392.

The level of crime from official statistics did not explain the wide variation, she said. In recent times there was a spike in robberies in the county. The meeting also heard concerns that there are rumours the Garda Commissioner planned to shut stations in the north Kildare area.

The Leader heard speculation that Celbridge and Kilcock were for the chop. But senior Garda sources told the Leader that they are not aware of any plans at the moment to shut stations in the area.

Urging the campaign, Deputy Murphy said: “If we sit back we will not get an increase in numbers.”

She and others do not accept arguments that if Kildare gets an increase everyone will want it. The numbers are evidently unfair, in her view. “We are taxed in the exact same way as other counties,” she said.

Cllr. Padraig McEvoy said that if Kildare got a transfer of 3% of Dublin Gardai, it would increase its number by a third. “Dublin Gardai cannot believe how run off their feat are their Kildare colleagues,” he said.

Cllr. Denis McCarthy said advised the public to keep numbers of suspicious vehicles in housing estates. The meeting heard calls for text warning systems.

Cllr. Anthony Larkin called for a “fair slice of the cake” for Kildare.

A worker in the security business, he also told the meeting that burglarly had become a day business and that 86% of all locks on PVC windows can be opened in three seconds.

Cllr. Larkin said that the insurance industry was starting to look much closer at claims.