Brendan suffers eighth break-in since 2002
Knockcroghery businessman Brendan Ward has said he is thankful to the Gardaí and for the support of the local community following the most recent break-in at his family-run service station and shop.
A substantial amount of cigarettes and cash were taken in what was the eighth burglary at the premises since Brendan and his family took over the business in 2002. Brendan said the Gardai had been very quick to respond but they were up against it in the fight against rural crime.
“The fact is there’s only so many roads they (Gardaí) can cover and the previous time we were robbed I asked them if there was any one thing that would help stop these kinds of robberies.
“The Garda said that if there was a Garda posted on the couple of bridges that crossed the Shannon and cameras which could identify vehicle number plates were used on level crossings they could solve theses crimes very fast”.
Brendan said it was “very hard” to keep a business open in rural Ireland, particularly when losses have been incurred following break-ins.
“The reality is that the demands of the business are quite high and you end up invariably with your finances invested, trying to keep it going. There are only so many businesses that will succeed and survive. The kinds of monies involved in these thefts could be a year’s profit; it could be two years’ profit. If you’re constantly being robbed it gets to the point where it’s difficult for companies or even individuals to continue on”.
Brendan was weary but philosophical following the thefts at his premises over the last 16 years.
“Our lucky thing is that this is a business and not a private home. My heart goes out to people who have actually been burgled because I’m sure it must be very difficult to live in a house when you’ve actually been robbed”.
Brendan said the knock-on effect from crime harms the local community as a whole.
“When you’re hit bad you may have to reduce hours a little bit, you might not have a certain product, or you have to cut back on something. There’s a knock-on effect for everybody, it really is a vicious circle. For the amount of investment involved to make the country safer, it would solve a lot of this”.
He said that it would be difficult to keep his business going following the latest incident.
“I’m not confident, not this time. It would be a major struggle because the issue with insurance is that very few places can afford to cover cash and cigarettes any longer”.
Brendan concluded by saying that the perceived “revolving door” of the Irish justice system meant that “lateral thinking” was needed so that criminals once again feared the punishment meted out to them.
“When you’ve got organised people or professional thieves, there has to be some sort of punishment. You don’t have to send people to jail you just have to make sure they don’t want to do it again.
“There are many ways to hurt people, financially for example, take the house off them. We need something but it doesn’t have to be nasty, it doesn’t have to be cruel, it’s just got to hurt”.