OLDER PEOPLE ARE “living in fear” of being attacked in their own homes because of reduced policing presence in their communities, according to Active Retirement Ireland (ARI).
Speaking after a home invasion in Co Donegal in which an 84-year-old woman was assaulted and robbed, Maureen Kavanagh, ARI’s Chief Executive, said that members of the organisation were more apprehensive than ever before.
“It’s a desperate situation for many of our members, especially those living alone,” Kavanagh said, “There are fewer Gardaí on our streets due to station closures and cutbacks, and older people are reduced to living in fear of being targeted by criminals.
“Violent home invasions are unfortunately becoming more common, and when a 96-year-old woman was brutally assaulted in Buncrana last month, we received several phone calls from concerned members all over the country.”
Kavanagh stressed the concern felt by older people was not limited to rural areas such as the north-west: “In urban areas, even those unaffected by station closures, there are still fewer Gardaí on the beat and this makes older people quite frightful of criminal elements of society who seem to act with impunity.”
Kavanagh said more must be done by the government to allay the fears of older people. “We saw with the recent cuts to the Seniors Alert Scheme that bottom line figures are being prioritised ahead of people’s welfare. It’s a positive move that those cuts were reversed, but with 100 Garda stations to be closed this month, and fewer and fewer Gardaí present in communities, the government must take steps to allay the fears of older people in all corners of the country.”