Anger and fear among rural dwellers was to the fore at a meeting held to discuss the issue of rural crime in Co. Tipperary recently.

The meeting, which was held in Toomevara, in the north of the county, heard people voice warnings that “somebody will be shot” if the problem of rural crime is not acted upon more effectively, according to local radio station TippFM.

Speakers at the event called for longer prison sentences, less legal aid and for powers of seizure to be given to Gardaí in the fight to tackle modified cars involved in crime.

Martin Langton, of Nenagh Neighbourhood Watch, spoke out on the matter on the radio, stating:

I’m asking the five TDs in this area to go and meet the Minister for Justice; to go and meet [Minister for Transport] Ross. He can bring in stuff with the stroke of a pen – and meet him.

“But I can tell you; you go out – or even meet – an elderly person that has been broken into. That person is never the same; they hate going in the door at night-time – they’re not sleeping.”

However, Save Our Local Community organisation secretary Francis Burke appealed for calmness and cool heads on TippFM, stating:

“I can sympathise with the people in Toomevara; we’ve gone through it all ourselves in our own area. It’s something you have to keep cool about – you just can’t go out and say ‘I’m going to shoot somebody’.

That won’t happen. We had a meeting in Trim and this lady stood up and said she’d shoot the next person that came into her garden.

“When we approached that lady afterwards she hadn’t a shotgun; she’d never shot a rabbit or a pigeon. And when we said ‘would you face a gun on someone and shoot it?’; she nearly fell away with the shock when she thought about it.

“It’s not the way and the Gardaí don’t want that to be going out either.”