Vigil in Bridgetown over local crime wave
fifty people from across South Wexford gathered in the community field in Bridgetown last Friday night for a vigil against a growing local crime wave.
The peaceful gathering took place the night after Bridgetown businesswoman Diane Goff's Goffs Centre store in the village was attacked by vandals for the third time.
Diane said a large, plate glass window with graphics had been smashed.
'There are only a small few who are giving Bridgetown a bad name,' she told this newspaper, 'there's a great community spirit here,a happy community, but we need a garda presence and there's none in the hinterland.'
Cllr Mick Roche, the organiser of the vigil, said that he hoped both local and national government would finally see the fear and frustration of ordinary people faced with an escalating series of crimes and act to tackle the perpetrators.
'People are at the end of their tether,' said Cllr Roche, 'they see nothing being done to tackle the escalating crime wave devastating South Wexford. Garda stations in rural areas have either been closed or are only manned part time. The perpetrators of these crimes have no fear of state retribution and are becoming more bold and outrageous in their acts.'
The Sinn Fein member said cuts to garda services and a dramatic increase in crime in recent years has left rural communities feeling isolated and vulnerable.
'Community alert initiatives are positive but need funding and support from local government. A coordinated response is needed and it's high time that the state stands by stranded rural communities.'
Cllr Roche said he hoped public demonstrations will draw much needed attention to this cause and force action to be taken and another demonstration is planned for 7 p.m. on October 2 in the Community field in Bridgetown.
'We would urge other communities to join us and indeed to replicate this event in their own areas. We need to send a message that we will not tolerate a situation where our most vulnerable are living in fear,' said the councillor.