Cllr Pearse McGeough: JPC Public Meeting Useful and Progressive

At a public meeting of the Joint Policing Committee (JPC) for Mid-Louth, Sinn Féin Councillor Pearse McGeough described the meeting as “very useful” and “a progressive way for the public to have their issues heard.”

The meeting was held at the Grove Hotel in Dunleer at the request of Cllr McGeough who is also Chair of the JPC. There was an attendance of around 40 and the proceedings got underway with a minute’s silence for Cameron Reilly who was from the town and was murdered on 26th May this year.

There were presentations from Louth County Council, An Garda Siochána (crime statistics) and on Cyber Crime.

Cllr McGeough said “I wanted to ensure that the public were heard first and foremost, and all those who attended were able to air their views on issues in the area and had the ear of Chief Superintendent Chris Mangan who I feel listened and took it all on board.”

Various issues were raised from drug taking, drug dealing, car parking, unmanned rural Garda stations to general anti-social behaviour.

Cllr McGeough said “there is a huge deficit in resources needed for the Gardaí to carry out their work effectively. Chief Superintendent Mangan was very forthright on that point. For example, if a murder occurs in the County, that is 20% of his budget gone. That is how much resources go into a murder. Now bear in mind, we have had three murders in County Louth this year and as CS Mangan pointed out, we now have the highest murder rate outside of Dublin, not something we can be proud of.”

Cllr Pearse McGeough & Imelda Munster TD

Also present was Imelda Munster TD who towards the end of the meeting told of her frustrations with the Minister as she was fighting for additional Garda resources in the Dáil. Those frustrations were mirrored by CS Mangan who has to justify his ‘overspending’ on a budget that was insufficient to meet the needs of the County.

Cllr McGeough said “people need to feel safe and in order for us all to live in a community where that can happen we need to be pro-active in looking out for each other and work closely with the Gardaí in reporting crimes and encourage our Community Garda to become integrated into our communities. I want to commend the Community Gardaí that we currently have throughout the county, they do great work and their local knowledge is invaluable in investigating local crimes. We need more of them but again, we are back to a resources issue.”

“In short, if we want to live peacefully and safely in our communities we all need to work together, the public, An Garda Siochana, Louth County Council, business owners and anyone who has an interest in where they live or work. I feel that the public took an active role at the meeting and were listened to, I want to thank everyone who attended.”

Kenneth Flood Welcomes New Louth Community Policing Initiatives

Following a presentation by Chief Superintendent Sean Ward in The Grove Hotel in Dunleer, Chairperson of the South Louth Joint Policing Committee, Kenneth Flood, has welcomed the new community policing initiatives for Louth.

Cllr Flood said “I have long been an advocate for community policing and initiatives that can better connect the public with the Gardaí. The new sectoral policing initiative means that every area in Drogheda will have a Garda dedicated to that area. A Garda who will identify with and get to know the area, connect with the residents there and then use their knowledge on the ground to link in with the other Garda Units if and when a crime is reported”.

“This is a pilot project so if it is successful, it should be rolled out to our rural areas as well. The rural areas have suffered cuts to Garda and policing through the Government’s austerity so this is a step in the right direction to bring security and peace of mind back to our  rural communities. It is in everybody’s interest to ensure its success.”

“I am hopeful that this initiative will create a new level of cooperation and personal interaction within our communities”.

 

Pictured at the recent policing meeting Sinn Fein Councillors Antóin Watters, Kenneth Flood, Joanna Byrne, Pearse McGeough along with TD Imelda Munster.

 

Cllr Flood: Inoperable CCTV a major cause for concern

Speaking after the quarterly Local Policing Forum Meeting in Drogheda, Chairperson and Sinn Féin Councillor Kenneth Flood said that confirmation that the CCTV of the RAPID areas was ‘inoperable’ was a major cause for concern.

Cllr Flood said “The CCTV outside of the town centre is a vital tool in fighting anti-social behaviour, wider criminality and illegal dumping. In recent weeks I have been in touch with the council asking for them to review the CCTV to help fight dumping/fly-tipping. This evening, it was confirmed to me that it was in fact ‘inoperable'”.

“Although we were assured that the system was under review we have not been given a date for the conclusion of that review nor indeed when the CCTV will be operable again”.

“This is simply not acceptable and I will be pursuing the council to finish their review in a timely manner, repair and reactivate the CCTV in Drogheda.”

Joint Policing Forum Chair Hits Out Over Cancellation of Public Meeting

Kenneth FloodSinn 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.”

 

Chair of Local Policing Forum Calls For An End to Halloween Nuisance

SF Kenneth & ImeldaThe first meeting of the new Drogheda Local Policing Forum took place on Monday and was dominated by Halloween and the nuisance it can be which takes away from family fun.

Sinn Féin Chairperson Cllr Kenneth Flood said “one issue is the bonfires and the burning of tyres. Sterling work has been done in the past few years by local businesses and Louth County Council to prevent tyres finding their way onto these bonfires and we hope to build on that. Despite people knowing the environmental damage tyres cause when they are burned, not to mention the heavy toxic smell and mess they leave behind, several councillors and multiple citizens have reported seeing them being hoarded for Halloween Bonfires. So I am again requesting that anyone who sees hoards of Bonfire Material to please pass the location on to Louth County Council so it can be removed.”

The second related Halloween issue was the use of fireworks.

Cllr Flood said “although the number of fireworks is well down compared to previous years, they are still being used in the county. I want to remind everyone that these fireworks are illegal and unsafe. As a father myself, I feel sick every year when I read about some poor child that has lost fingers or has been injured in some way by these fireworks. It has to stop. And it’s not only the children that are suffering, the poor animals hate the noise of them and it causes them unnecessary panic and distress.”

The meeting which was held in the Governors House, Millmount, Drogheda also covered other topics such as the need to repair the lighting columns on West Street, the establishment of new neighbourhood watch schemes and tackling burglaries and graffiti in Drogheda and South Louth.
Cllr Kenneth Flood is urging all resident’s groups, voluntary groups etc to register with the PPN (Public Participation Network) and “have your voice heard on all issues facing Drogheda and South Louth. This is your area, you are entitled to have a say in how issues are tackled”.

For further information on how to register your group please go to http://louthppn.ie

Cllr Flood concluded “There will be a public meeting held after these PPN roles are filled and anyone and everyone in Drogheda and surrounding areas can raise any issue they believe needs to be tackled through the Joint Policing Committee.”