Community-based garda needs to be put back into rural areas - Michael Healy Rae

Poll finds more than one-fifth of farm families have been the victim of crime

Community-based garda needs to be put back into rural areas - Michael Healy Rae

Independent TD Michael Healy Rae pictured at Leinster House in Dublin | Image: RollingNews.ie

An independent Kerry TD says community-based gardaí need to be put back into rural communities.

Michael Healy Rae told Newstalk's Down to Business: "I would earnestly ask (the Government) to look at garda stations that were closed and serious consider re-opening them.

"Because one thing that we cherish in rural areas is the whole idea of a community-based garda.

"In other words, a person who is not just a guard - but he is part of our community."

His comments come on the back of an opinion poll, which finds that more than one-fifth of farm families say they or a member of their immediate family has been the victim of crime in the last 12 months.

Furthermore, almost 60% of respondents in the Irish Examiner/ICMSA poll do not believe there is an adequate garda presence in rural Ireland.

The is just a month after a new campaign was launched to try combat the problem of farm-related crime and thefts.

The initiative is aiming to raise awareness among the public, and in particular those in the farming community, of the issue.

It was jointly organised by Crimestoppers, the Irish Farmers Association (IFA), An Garda Síochána and DoneDeal.

Since 2010, over 28,642 farm-related crime incidents have been reported to gardaí.

The most common incidents are thefts from farm yards, with over 2,000 being reported every year since 2010.

Mr Healy Rae says the local guard needs to be central to rural communities - who need to look out for each other.