The proximity of a rural village to the M6 motorway is making it more attractive to thieves.
That’s according to Fine Gael County Councillor Aidan Donohue, who said “one of the leading factors” in the rise in crime in Kiltullagh is the village’s closeness to the motorway.
“For access and getaway purposes – both of them seem to be very big factors,” he said.
The latest crime figures released show burglary rates across Galway dropped by more than ten per cent last year.
However Athenry, the nearest functioning Garda Station to Kiltullagh, noted an increase of 13.64 per cent, bringing the total number of burglaries in the area to 25.
The loss of the Garda Station in Kiltullagh has made it more vulnerable, according to local Community Alert Scheme chairperson Christy Corcoran. Kiltullagh Garda Station closed its doors in 2013, as part of then-Justice Minister Alan Shatter’s decision to shut 100 stations.
The move was heavily criticised by local businesses and residents, with Mr Corcoran stressing that elderly people are the most affected.
“For the older people living alone there’s a loss of security for them.
“They feel more confident if the station was there even though the guards might not be there at all times but they still felt a sense of security,” he said. As part of the local Community Alert Scheme, there are signs erected around Kiltullagh and the organisation operates a text alert system to keep locals in the loop and inform them of any suspicious activity in the area.
A number of burglaries have occurred in Kiltullagh since the closure of the Garda Station, Mr Corcoran said, including six valuable paintings depicting the Stations of the Cross which were stolen from the Church of St Peter and St Paul, Kiltullagh in June 2013.
The paintings were recovered by Gardaí last week during a planned search operation of wasteland near Edenderry, Co. Offaly.
Local residents believe the paintings may never have been stolen if the Garda Station had remained open, however Mr Corcoran said they were “delighted” to have the paintings back.