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.
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.”
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.”
The 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.”
Sinn Féin’s Kenneth Flood has been nominated as Chairperson of the Local Policing Forum after a vote at this month’s meeting of Drogheda Borough Council.
Proposed by his fellow Councillor Imelda Munster and seconded by Alan Cassidy, a vote was taken and Flood was elected to this position.
Speaking after the meeting, Councillor Flood said “I am honoured to be elected as Chair of the Local Policing Forum. Community safety is high on our list of priorities and also with the the citizens’ of Drogheda and south Louth. There seems to be a perception that there is a disconnect between the community and the Gardaí, I intend to resolve that and get the community more involved and to have a greater say in what is happening in their areas. They are the people who know their area best. We also need to look at where and how resources are being used, and how they can be used for the betterment of the community as a whole.”
Kenneth joins fellow Sinn Féin Councillor Jim Loughran who was also appointed at last night’s Dundalk meeting of the Municipal Council.