New forum to increase rural safety launched at Ploughing Championships

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Minister Charlie Flanagan and Commissioner Drew Harris

Minister for Justice & Equality, Charlie Flanagan TD today (Wednesday, September 18) launched the National Rural Safety Forum at the National Ploughing Championships in Ballintrane, Co. Carlow.

Speaking from the Garda tent, Minister Flanagan praised the work of the organisers in bringing this wide-ranging group together under the umbrella of community safety.

“This is an important day for rural Ireland and demonstrates An Garda Síochána’s focus on the principle of community safety. This forum has been established and is co-chaired by Assistant Commissioner Orla Mc Partlin of the Garda Community Relations Bureau, and Mr Richard Kennedy of the Irish Farmers Association. I commend them for driving forward the work of this group,” said Minister Flanagan.

The National Rural Safety Forum consists of representatives from a wide range of State and Community organisations including An Garda Síochána, the Irish Farmers Association, Muintir na Tire, Age Friendly Ireland, Foroige, The GAA, the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association, the Irish Country Women’s Association, the City and County Management Association, Active Retirement Ireland, the National Transport Authority, Macra na Feirme, Neighbourhood Watch, ESB Networks, the Department of Justice & Equality and the Department of Community and Rural Affairs.

“The fact that this forum has been established at this juncture demonstrates the ongoing commitment of An Garda Síochána to implement the recommendations of the report. The Commission identified the crucial need for collaboration and multi-agency approaches with the following deceptively simple sounding principle – that policing and security are not for the police alone,” he said. 

The National Rural Safety Forum was established to provide community reassurance, to develop and utilize a nation-wide communications network for the distribution of crime prevention advice, to increase engagement within communities and to prevent crime and to 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,” said Minister Flanagan.

The Forum will, every quarter, distribute a crime prevention leaflet via email to over 1,000,000 homes across Ireland. They will also meet at least four times a year to discuss issues of concern to those living in rural Ireland, to develop initiatives to promote community safety and to reduce the opportunity for crime throughout the country.

In a statement, Assistant Commissioner Orla McPartlin, Garda Community Relations Bureau said:

"An Garda Síochána is pleased to work in partnership with key groups and organisations to reassure the communities in Rural Ireland that we are committed to enhancing community engagement, improving our communication network and delivering crime prevention measures which will make Rural Ireland a safer place to live, work and visit.”