Fianna Fáil General Election candidates in Galway West John Connolly, Cllr. Mary Hoade and Éamon Ó Cuív TD will host a public meeting on crime prevention next Monday 30th November in the Galway Bay Hotel. The party’s Community Affairs Spokesperson Bobby Aylward will chair the meeting and keynote speakers include Sergeant Pat Flanagan from An Garda Síochána Crime Prevention Unit and Bernard Kearney from Múintir na Tíre. “Every community across Co. Galway has felt the effects of this crime wave that is sweeping across the country. Garda numbers have decreased significantly over the past five years under this Government, and despite commitments on Garda recruitment, it will take years before we see more boots on the ground. The fact of the matter is that the Gardai need more resources now, not in a few years’ time. Not a week goes by without media reports about the latest burglary or robbery and people are becoming increasingly fearful in their own homes, especially those who are elderly or living on their own”, said Mr. Connolly. Cllr. Hoade added, “People are really worried about their security, in both rural and urban communities. There is real concern about burglaries and many feel a greater sense of isolation than they did a number of years ago. Since 2013, ten Garda stations in Galway have closed leaving communities across the county more exposed and vulnerable. Garda numbers have also been slashed, from 601 in 2010 to 564 in February this year. Criminals are taking advantage of these depleted resources and we have had a number of high profile robberies, being carried out by organised gangs. Deputy Ó Cuív explained, “There needs to a radical rethink about how we tackle crime. Fianna Fáil has put forward a 7 point plan aimed at clamping down on this crime spree – it will be one of the issues up for discussion at the meeting. I’m delighted that we will be joined by Sergeant Pat Flanagan and Bernard Kearney who will be giving a unique insight into the problems being faced by communities in Galway as well as measures which can be taken to deter criminals. “Fianna Fáil is determined to make the fight against crime a top priority and we are anxious to hear from members of the public about their experiences. The party is holding a series of meetings across the country to listen to the concerns of people who are worried about crime. We want to see more initiatives to strengthen the Gardai while making it tougher for criminal gangs to target communities”. The meeting will take place in the Galway Bay Hotel on Monday 30th November at 8pm.