IFA Deputy President Richard Kennedy has welcomed the publication today by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Justice and Equality of its Report on Community Policing and Rural Crime.
Richard Kennedy said IFA has taken a proactive role in the area of crime prevention, but that more can and must be done by the Government, as evidenced by this report.
He highlighted how over the last year, several serious incidents have occurred on farms. Many farmers and rural dwellers live in real fear for their safety, which is compounded by geographic and service isolation. Theft of valuables from rural homes and of livestock and machinery from farms is also a major concern.
Richard Kennedy said, “IFA has said many times that there is a need for greater patrolling of rural Ireland. Farm families need to see a much greater Garda presence on the road. The JOC has agreed with us and included it as one of its key recommendations”.
A proposal to establish a dedicated Rural Crime Task Force in crime blackspots was suggested by the IFA in its presentation to the JOC last October. At the time, IFA highlighted how a similar UK Task Force has been successful in tackling rural crime. This has also been included in the list of recommendations.
“The Committee has done good work and produced a sensible, workable report. However, it will be a fruitless exercise if left on a shelf gathering dust. The Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan and his officials must set out a clear timetable for implementation and IFA will be seeking a meeting with him to discuss this as soon as possible,” said Richard Kennedy.