Farmers meet Laois TD and Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan has met farmers after a study revealed they have little faith that gardaí have the resources to fight crime in rural areas.
At a meeting with the Minister for Justice & Equality Charles Flanagan to discuss the ICSA agricultural crime survey, ICSA president Patrick Kent said that rural people want more resources in community policing, stiffer sentences for repeat offenders and closer consultation between rural stakeholders, local authorities and An Garda Síochana.
"ICSA’s National Agricultural Crime Survey undertaken in conjunction with WIT, revealed alarmingly that 45% of agricultural crime goes unreported for a variety of reasons. These include little faith that the Gardaí have adequate resources to recover goods or catch the perpetrators and a sense that the justice system is not penalising these criminals sufficiently. We need to see these issues addressed urgently," he said.
ICSA rural development chair Seamus Sherlock said he was acutely aware of many in rural areas who are afraid in their own homes. He told the Minister it was vital that much more be done on ensuring community policing was at the heart of the Garda strategy.
"We need the local Garda to know the people, to know what's going on and to be living close to the rural community. This is not necessarily about Garda stations; it is about every citizen in rural Ireland knowing their local guard and having a sense that the Gardaí are never far away," he said.
ICSA said it is supportive of the CCTV initiative announced by Minister Flanagan which is making €3 million available to help install CCTV cameras.
"We need to use this funding as a first step in strategic rural areas where crime has been a problem to demonstrate that further funding will yield a positive dividend to the state in the fight against crime. Crime is costing farmers an average of €4,328 and is adding to insurance costs for everybody.
"ICSA is urging community groups to apply for this funding. ICSA believes that ongoing state help with maintenance of cameras will also be necessary and outlined this to the Minister," said Mr Sherlock.
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