IFA official: 'North Dublin a template for tackling rural crime in Kerry'
Farmers' association officer was addressing concerns over trespassing arising from north Kerry meeting
A special garda unit tackling rural crime in north Dublin is a template for tackling trespassers and individuals hunting illegally on land.
That's according to Barry Carey, crime prevention officer with the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA).
Mr Carey mentioned proposals for the deployment of a national police unit at a recent public meeting held in Kilmoyley where landowners voiced concern over the scourge of trespassers, who they say are a threat to personal safety and property.
Unusually for an IFA representative, Mr Carey cited the positive example of tackling organised crime in north Dublin as a national template. He also stated that the closure of rural garda stations in Kerry is not a restrictive measure in dealing with trespassers if a properly coordinated plan is in place.
The nuisance of illegal hunting is a nationwide problem affecting some 30 counties according to the IFA, who earlier this year met with senior garda officers 'to enlighten them' about a lack of patrolling and visibility in rural areas.
"I was at a conference in Wales in July and they had formed a rural task force. There are plans to roll out a national policy and we will be meeting with the Chief Superintendent in Kerry in January to see if a new patrol unit can be activated there. The IFA have presented information to government officials in relation to rural crime," Mr Carey said.
"The Superintendent in Balbriggan recently set up the North Dublin Rural Crime Patrol. This inter-agency approach has in the last month alone carried out 103 patrols, a 102 checkpoints. They've also confiscated vehicles and have made several arrests. It's been very positive," he added.
Mr Carey believes every garda division in the country is now looking for a similar patrol unit to be established. The IFA official claims there is no difference between patrolling an area like north Dublin and rural parts of Kerry, adding that while the population of north Dublin within three miles is urban, less than a kilometre outside this is rural.
Some of the biggest farms in Ireland are located in north Dublin and the area can be used as a pilot for a national policy on rural crime prevention.
"Patrolling out in rural areas and patrolling in high visibility, that's what's needed. This is what the IFA is calling for. The closure of rural garda stations doesn't mean this can't still happen. It's about a concentration of patrolling in specific areas. The improvements in motorways and roads also means that these people are accessing and getting away from their acts faster," he said.
The IFA does not envisage the deployment of any extra gardaí in setting up the new task forces, but rather the coordination of various garda divisions working together under proper management.
"There has to be one message around the country that this is not acceptable. There also has to be cross community co-operation. Communities need to report cases, get in touch with their local politicians, arrange public meetings and push the issue locally. They should demand that more patrolling takes place. Kerry farmers are looking for the same sort of garda response as is happening in rural north Dublin."
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