Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood has hit out over the cancellation of the first public meeting of the Joint Policing Forum which was scheduled for Tuesday evening 1st December. The meeting was to have been held in the Westcourt Hotel and was cancelled because ‘no Garda were available to attend.’
Cllr Flood, who is the chair of the Forum was incensed as he said “We have not had a public meeting since November 2013. This meeting was hailed as a vital link between the public, the Gardaí and public servants. It was organised and advertised by Louth County Council but they apparently forgot to confirm the Gardaí’s availability for the meeting.”
Councillor Flood contacted the Superintendent following notification of the reason for the cancellation and reported “after speaking to the Superintendent for Drogheda and South Louth I was told he only knew of the date of the meeting when he read it in the media after the public notice was published. He contacted the Council several times to inform them the date was unsuitable as that night Drogheda Gardaí had other commitments. Any other date would suffice.”
The Dundalk based official responsible for organising the meeting was unavailable to take the calls which resulted in the last minute cancellation of the meeting.
Cllr Flood made no bones about where the blame lay. “The blames lies squarely with Louth County Council officials in Dundalk who treat Drogheda as an after-thought. I am furious about this lack of respect for the people of Drogheda. We are now down to three community Gardaí from ten a few years ago. Local reps and Gardaí are trying to improve our town and make citizens feel a bit safer in their areas and then something like this happens which only helps to widen the perceived disconnect between the public and the Gardaí. We need to get down to business and stop messing about.”