Dáil debates

Tuesday, 24 May 2022

Ceisteanna ar Sonraíodh Uain Dóibh - Priority Questions

Crime Prevention

9:20 pm

Photo of James BrowneJames Browne (Wexford, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Deputy for raising this very important matter involving the National Rural Safety Forum. As he may be aware, the purpose of the forum is to develop a nationwide network for the distribution of consistent highly-effective crime prevention advice, increase engagement within communities, and prevent and reduce opportunities for crime.

The forum is co-chaired by Assistant Garda Commissioner Paula Hilman and Mr. Brian Rushe, deputy president of the Irish Farmers Association, IFA. My Department is represented at all forum meetings. Other organisations represented on the forum include Muintir na Tíre, Age Friendly Ireland, Foróige, the GAA, the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association, the Irish Countrywomen’s Association, the County and City Management Association, Active Retirement Ireland, the National Transport Authority, Macra na Feirme, neighbourhood watch, ESB Networks and the Department of Rural and Community Development.

The Deputy may be aware that on 27 April, the forum, supported by the Department of Justice, hosted a national community engagement day for the first time since 2020. It could not be held in previous years because of the pandemic. The day comprised well-publicised meet-and-greet opportunities at more than 300 venues throughout the State where members of the public could engage directly with representatives of An Garda Síochána, IFA branch representatives and other community groups in their area, including receiving crime prevention advice.

People living in rural communities and, indeed, all communities in Ireland, deserve to feel and be safe. My hope is that events such as the national community engagement day can nurture the already strong bonds between An Garda Síochána, community representatives and the people they serve. I was delighted to take part in the day and met with Assistant Commissioner Hilman, IFA president Tim Cullinan and members of the public in Counties Wexford, Kildare and Dublin, during the day.

A key pillar of the programme for Government is building stronger and safer communities.  As the Deputy is aware, my Department funds a number of initiatives around the country to help build rural safety. In co-ordination with our colleagues in the National Rural Safety Forum, I intend to develop and publish a rural safety action plan this autumn, which will complement the work of the forum and consolidate the many excellent initiatives that are already under way nationally on rural safety and through the National Rural Safety Forum.


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