Anger at Garda refusal to attend meeting on cross-border crime

February 16, 2015

The refusal of An Garda Siochána to send a representative to a meeting on rural crime along the border has been criticized by Sinn Fein.

The force declined an invitation to attend a meeting of Newry & Mourne Policing & Community Safety Partnership (PCSP) at which rural crime, particularly livestock and farm plant theft in border areas, was to be discussed.

Assembly member Mickey Brady says the refusal to attend is viewed as “a snub” and has led to great anger among the farming community.

“In light of the serious increase in the theft of livestock and farm plant on both sides of the Louth/Armagh border the PCSP representing Newry, Mourne and Gullion invited a member of An Gardá Siochána to its monthly meeting to discuss how the community and statutory agencies can play a greater role in dealing with cross border crime.  Unfortunately this request was rebuffed by the Garda in Louth.  The only people to gain from this are the criminals,” he said.

“It is incumbent on the Garda Commissioner, the Chief Constable and the current Ministers for Justice to ensure their officers are following the agreed strategies for co-operation and working more closely with all the statutory bodies and communities to ensure we build ‘Safer, Shared and Confident Communities’,” he added.

Rural crime, and in particular livestock theft, is on the increase in border areas and Armagh has been identified as a “hot spot” for such, Councillor Terry Hearty revealed.  He had proposed that Louth Gardaí attend the PCSP meeting to discuss how to combat such crimes using resources and personnel on both sides of the border.

“Many farmers who have suffered at the hands of these criminals are facing financial hardship because of the impact of their losses and there is great anger at this snub to our attempt to engage with a key stakeholder in developing an effective and productive cross border strategy so that farmers can go about their business without the fear of crime impacting upon their livelihoods,” he said.