Offaly Fine Gael TD, Marcella Corcoran Kennedy TD has welcomed a "positive and constructive" public Meeting in Cloghan this week, which was called by the community to highlight concerns about the recent spate of burglaries in the locality. She voiced her support for the re-opening of Shannonbridge Garda Station.
Marcella raised the number of burglaries in Offaly with Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, in the Dáil last week, expressing concern with the staffing levels in stations across West Offaly. She asked the Minister to ensure that members of An Garda Síochána are deployed to our rural towns and villages.
The Minister responded by suggesting burglaries had fallen by over 30% in the Laois/Offaly Garda Station, figures disputed by groups in Cloghan this week.
“It was hugely encouraging to see the hall in Cloghan full to capacity on Tuesday night last and it goes to demonstrate how civically engaged people in Offaly are and how genuinely concerned the community is about the increase in burglaries in the area in recent weeks," Marcella commented.
The meeting was chaired by Valerie Clarke who ensured that all attendees were given the opportunity to contribute to the debate.
"I was glad to be in a position to confirm to the meeting that there will be no further Garda Stations closures in Offaly and I committed to fighting hard to have Shannonbridge Garda Station reopened," Marcella told us.
Superintendent Cashen confirmed to the meeting that two new Garda recruits will be stationed in Ferbane in the coming weeks and this commitment was welcomed by all in attendance. A wide ranging discussion took place about prevention and how homeowners, businesses and farmers can take small and practical steps to protect their property.
“It is important to acknowledge the significant policing successes in recent weeks with the significant seizure of drugs and firearms in Geashill by An Garda Síochána, cannabis seizure in Cloghan and the arresting of a man following burglaries in Tullamore," Marcella commented.
"In other to combat crime in our community, the cooperation between community groups, Offaly County Council and members of An Garda Síochána is essential. The Community Text Alert schemes is an excellent method of tackling burglary and crime across Offaly and I strongly encourage community groups to establish schemes as there are financial supports available from the Department of Justice to assist communities."
She said, "the Government is committed to increasing the Garda workforce to 21,000 by 2021 and its An Garda Síochána Capital Plan 2016-2021 is continuing to provide over €205 million in additional funding for Garda ICT and €46 million for new Garda vehicles."
"I look forward to continue working on this matter with local Gardaí and my Government colleagues. I am determined to ensure that an appropriate number of the 800 extra Gardaí being recruited next year are stationed in the Laois/Offaly District.”
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