THE recent increase in the prevalence of burglaries across the county, but especially in West and North Clare, has heightened concern among people living in small communities and isolated areas.
The victims, in the main elderly people living in rural areas, have suffered very frightening experiences and this, in turn, has spread fear among other elderly people that they could be next.
There is plenty of evidence to show that elderly people who fall victim to crime in their own home are reluctant to return and many end up living with their children or other relatives. This can throw a community out of kilter, as the elderly are held in high regard for their role in shaping the very community in which they live, whether through rearing their families or their involvement in social, cultural or sporting organisations.
The latest threat posed by criminals to householders in Clare is being met head-on by the garda authorities. In the wake of a number of aggravated burglaries in the West Clare area, Superintendent Gerry Wall has moved to allay fears with an offer for a garda to call to the home of anybody who might feel vulnerable. The garda would be in a position to offer reassurances and advice to people about personal security and how to raise the alarm in an emergency situation.
As a consequence of incidents in the wider Inagh area, a community alert meeting has been convened for Friday, April 12 in the local hall, which will be addressed by the Garda Crime Prevention Officer and a Muintir na Tíre representative.
The need for householders to become more security conscious is something that applies to everybody, not just the elderly. This message is not new but it has to be repeated constantly, as raids by burglars seem to come in waves in different areas.
Nobody can afford to let their guard down when it comes to crime. We’re all potential targets for criminals. They quite literally creep up like a thief in the night, although daytime incidents are not uncommon. Criminals tend to hit a particular territory and move on, only to return at a later stage.
Having a good network of friends and neighbours goes a long way towards negating the threat of crime against property or individuals. Many independent local voluntary groups or branches of national organisations include crime prevention as part of their mission statement and are happy to support the gardaí.
Supt Wall had some good news in that some of those involved in recent crimes were apprehended but he suggested there could be a cross-over among gangs involved in separate incidents. He appealed to people in the wider community who might have knowledge or suspicions about those involved in criminal activity to come forward on a confidential basis.
Without strong support in various ways from all sections of society, An Garda Síochána’s fight against crime will be curtailed. We can’t allow that to happen.
Aviation centre milestone
JUST a month after the new-look board of Shannon Airport Authority (SAA) took shape comes the good news that a multinational aerospace service provider is to establish a strategic corporate headquarters there. North American Aircraft Services (NAAS) is to serve its growing client base in Europe, the Middle East and Africa from Shannon.
Creating an international aviation services centre was one of the priorities identified for Shannon upon its separation from the Dublin Airport Authority (DAA). The fact that NAAS has come on board just three months after the separation reflects well on SAA’s promotional strategy and should trigger others to consider Shannon as a base.
Texas-based NAAS is a serious player in the airline business. It provides specialised aircraft maintenance services worldwide, including fuel systems maintenance, field services and aircraft on-ground support, fuel cell repair and overhaul and line maintenance. It’s a perfect fit for Shannon, where there is a long tradition of aircraft maintenance, with a number of purpose-built hangars for large aircraft.
NAAS’s arrival at Shannon marks “a historic milestone in our bid to develop an International Aviation Services Centre (IASC) at Shannon and is a very welcome addition to the existing cluster of well established, high calibre, aviation industries,” SAA chair, Rose Hynes said.
NAAS has signalled its intent to invest capital and personnel in Clare. Managing director Ray Raoufi said they would be in Shannon for the long haul.
“We are here for the long term, it’s a one-way ticket,” he said.
He also said they would begin relatively slowly in Ireland, starting from the training-up, at a 5,000ft2 hangar.
No jobs figure has been mentioned at this stage but this line of business involves highly skilled workers and there should be opportunities for recruitment from the local workforce.
NAAS has also acquired Sligo-based specialist aviation company, Usher Aviation Ltd, and that company’s founder, Barry Usher, will act as general manager of NAAS.
In respect of passenger business, seasonal flights and start-up flights are kicking off in the coming weeks, which will redress the poor showing at the beginning of the year. There is a great air of expectancy that Shannon can win back a decent share of the business that was loss while it was tied to the DAA.
An expansion of capacity and a return of some popular transatlantic services has created a lot of interest, while additional UK, European and sun destination flights make Shannon even more attractive as an airport of choice.