Mountmellick residents took to the streets last Sunday night, August 9 to highlight a shortage of Gardaí after a recent spate of break-ins.
Over 30 protesters walked from O’Connell Square to the Garda Station on O’Moore Street, where no Garda was in attendance, and none arrived despite a telephoned request to Portlaoise station.
Crime has reportedly grown in recent months, with reported thefts of home heating oil and gas cylinders, tools and garden equipment.
“There is always crime wherever you go, but this is escalating in one area, around College Avenue, Emmett terrace and Pattison’s Estate. The shortage of guards is the problem,” said the administrator of a local crime prevention facebook page.
Garda Superintendent Joe Prendergast has now arranged to meet with residents and Cllr Paddy Bracken.
“I am disappointed that people took to the streets complaining of a lack of garda presence. I am meeting the group on Wednesday to listen to what they have to say, explain what we can do, and work together,” he said, advising the public against vigilatism. See page 6.