Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has this week asked Minister for Justice Charles Flanagan to address the shortage of Gardaí in Louth, especially ahead of the Fleadh Cheoil in August.
Speaking in the Dáil chamber Deputy Munster asked Minister Flanagan to honour the commitment made by government regarding a strong and visible police force.
Minister Flanagan agreed to convey Deputy Munster’s concerns to the Garda Commissioner regarding personnel shortages in Louth.
Deputy Munster said:
“The government is failing to honour its commitment on Garda numbers. This is very obvious in Co. Louth.
“Louth’s Garda force is short several key personnel, and there are serious concerns in the county about this.
“There is a shortage of sergeants and inspectors locally.
“The Fleadh Cheoil is coming to Drogheda in August, and with it will come over 400,000 visitors to the town.
“Garda leave has been cancelled for the duration of the Fleadh, but Drogheda is still short of Gardai including supervisory Gardai.
“We need to have confidence that there are enough Gardai to manage the crowds and to be in a position to respond should there be an incident. We need to prepare for all eventualities.”
Sinn Féin Councillor and Chairperson of Drogheda Municipal District Joint Policing Committee Kenneth Flood has called for a reinvigorated Neighbourhood Watch Programme for The Drogheda Municipal District Area.
Cllr. Flood said, “Although there was a drop in the rate of crime in Louth last year we can never become complacent. Crime still needs to be fought and Neighbourhood Watch, Community Alert and Text Alert Schemes give the public their chance to play their part in that fight.
To give an example, one area of South County Dublin saw a 68% drop in the burglary rate after a Neighbourwatch Scheme was set up. That’s a huge achievement.
In figures released last July, in the Louth Garda Division, there were 190 recorded burglary offences. That is still an unacceptable figure. I believe we can cut that figure further by having all areas covered by Neighbourhood Watch, Community Alert or Text Alert Schemes.
I have raised this issue at the Louth Joint Policing Committee Steering Committee and everyone in attendance was in favour of expanding these schemes but the request to start them must come from the residents in any particular area. Residents must be the initiators of any new scheme.
Therefore, I am asking anyone who is interested in beginning a neighbourhood watch scheme or rejuvenating a dormant scheme, to contact me or the community garda’s office so we can begin the process of setting up these schemes and play our part in reducing crime”.