EXTRA Gardai are being drafted in to areas around Strabane as part of a joint bid with the PSNI to stamp out cross-border crime.
One of An Garda Síochána’s most senior officers has confirmed that additional resources are being allocated to border locations because “it is where incidents are happening”.
For years communities along the Strabane/Donegal border have been terrorised by thugs exploiting the jurisdictional divide to evade justice.
Recent incidents include a break-in last weekend at a Chinese takeaway in Lifford when thieves escaped with a substantial amount of money. It followed a number of daylight burglaries of homes in the border town.
Earlier this year an elderly family in Aghyaran was confronted by three masked men armed with pitchforks and metal poles. The gang made off with a sum of money and three mobile phones. And in December the home of a businessman and his wife was also ransacked in Aghyaran. It was the second time Paddy Hans and his wife Marian were targeted.
There have been repeated calls for an increased police presence in border areas and in recent weeks the PSNI has been posting images on social media of officers on patrol with their counterparts in An Garda Síochána.
At a meeting of Donegal’s Joint Policing Committee on Monday, Garda Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn confirmed that they are “populating” the border in a bid to catch cross-border criminals.
Garda McGinn was responding to a question by community representative Joe Boland who revealed that a number of “new faces” have been spotted on patrol in Raphoe and Convoy.
“It is great to see and I feel it is something we should be made aware of. Are these new members being deployed to border areas because of the incidents that have taken place or is it purely coincidence,” Mr Boland asked.
Garda McGinn said it was not a coincidence and that there are more officers manning border locations than before.
“Nothing happens coincidentally,” said the senior officer.
“We are looking at these incidents and we are trying to put in a response. We are trying to populate the border areas in terms of policing and policing needs because that is where these incidents are happening.”
Garda McGinn told the meeting that Donegal has recently been allocated 20 more officers and that she hopes to see that figure rise in the near future.