Minister commits to facilitating ‘maximum protection for rural Ireland’

The ‘state of the nation’ survey – conducted with almost 3,000 farmer participants in recent days by AgriLand and Empathy Research – has revealed that 13% of respondents have been the victim of rural crime.

5% of participants also highlighted the fact that they have been subject to a farm break-in.

These revelations were subsequently put to the Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan who attended the National Ploughing Championships yesterday, Wednesday, September 18.

He was on hand to launch the National Rural Safety Forum, which, he added, “will protect rural communities”.

Meanwhile, the minister pointed to the importance of protecting all communities across Ireland – not just those in rural settings.

‘A level of protection’

He said that as minister for justice he was very concerned about ensuring the level of protection required.

I am a rural TD and I see first-hand the challenges in ensuring the protection of communities – particularly now as we head in towards winter.

He continued: “What the forum is doing is bringing together An Garda Síochána with a number of the volunteering stakeholders – and I want to acknowledge the work of the farm organisations and rural development groups in that regard.

“We are setting up this forum in order to ensure best practice, to share information and to ensure that the Garda commissioner and his team are assisted in facilitating maximum protection for rural Ireland.”

‘More frontline Gardaí’

The Minister for Justice and Equality then pointed to the current reforms within An Garda Síochána.

He indicated his confidence in the leadership of Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and highlighted how the move will ensure “more availability of front-line Gardaí”.

This is an important day for rural Ireland and demonstrates An Garda Síochána’s focus on the principle of community safety.

He continued: “This forum has been established and is co-chaired by assistant commissioner Orla Mc Partlin of the Garda Community Relations Bureau and Richard Kennedy, Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA).

“The forum was established to provide community reassurance and to develop and utilise a nationwide communications network for the distribution of crime prevention advice.

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“It will also increase engagement within communities, prevent crime and reduce the opportunity for crime.

“I am certain that the work of the forum will provide great reassurance to communities and individuals across Ireland who live in fear of crime.”