Tuesday 15 October 2019

Rural Fingal rising up against crime

Farmers and rural dwellers gather to express fears

Ken Phelan

The Irish Farmers' Association Dublin Executive last week held a public meeting for the local farming and rural community in Swords to discuss the ongoing issue of rural crime in the Fingal area.

The meeting, held in the Carnegie Court last Wednesday, was called following the vicious assault of farmer Patrick Walsh near his farm in Lispopple on September 2, when a gang trespassed on his land.

Representatives from the IFA, An Garda Siochana and the Fingal Farmers' Group attended to discuss the problem in Fingal, as well as measures that could be taken to tackle the issue. Several local representatives were also in attendance.

Barry Carey, Crime Prevention Officer with the IFA said: 'There were concerns about the level of crime, and the fact that its now gone aggressive, and that in some places people were living in fear. There were repeated stories where people were saying the same thing, that we need greater visibility and more Gardai out there in the rural communities.'

According to Mr. Carey, there have been several serious incidents of rural crime in Fingal recently, including the attack on Patrick Walsh, as well as incidences of burglaries, trespassing, theft and rustling. He said that the problem was 'all over Fingal', and was partly due to the issue of Gardai not responding to calls outside their district.

He said: 'We've a working group going on now between the Garda and the IFA, and we've a meeting now in November to get an update. So the Gardai are going to review a number of issues, and see how best they can improve the service.'

He added: 'We're looking for people to get more involved, Gardai are looking at a greater patrolling and a greater Garda presence, and for people to be the 'eyes and ears' of the Gardai in rural areas. People think of north Dublin, but north Dublin is rural Ireland. '

Speaking of the meeting, Laurence Ward, Chairman of Fingal Farmer's Group said: 'There's hopefully going to be a change in the bordering of the different regions, which would help the issue of Gardai only responding to their own districts. There's the possibility of getting Garristown station reopened as a hub station to help serve the rural community from Garristown, right back into the Naul and Ballyboughal right back to maybe Balrothery direction.'

He added: 'The Gardai are saying they're getting more Gardai into the Fingal area, and hopefully that'll make a difference. But, there's supposed to be 800 new Gardai coming into the force, but if you spread that over the country, it doesn't give many extra.

'I know that the new Commissioner is aware of the situation, and he's also liaising with the guys out in Fingal now to get results.

'But there is a lot of frustration with the Gardai, and the lack of support of Gardai in the area and you could really see that at the meeting.'

Fingal Independent