A crowd of over fifty people attended the Crime Prevention meeting organised by general election candidate Cllr James Lawless in the Hamlet Court Hotel, Johnstownbridge on 8th September.
Cllr Lawless said “From meeting with residents across North Kildare it has come up time and again that crime is a big concern. I was delighted that Inspector Paul Dolan and Sergeant George Doherty both came down tonight to listen to residents’ concerns.
“The bigger issues I have taken away from the meeting are the response time to crimes and the lack of exchange between districts. It is a frustrating situation for residents that a Garda from Enfield cannot respond to a burglary in Carbury or Johnstownbridge, unless in extreme circumstances. As a member of the Joint Policing Committee on Kildare County Council we have strong working relationships with the Garda and I will press for change on these matters.
In the meeting residents had voiced their concerns over the low Garda numbers in Kildare, which are currently the lowest in the country. Inspector Paul Dolan was able to ease concerns by explaining there would be five new Garda starting in Leixlip Garda Station on 21st September.
Cllr Lawless added “Garda numbers in Kildare is something I have spent considerable time working on. I have called for increases and raised concerns at Dáil level with my Fianna Fail parliamentary party colleagues. Our Garda force has fell by 24 officers since 2011, five new officers can only be stretched so far to alleviate the strain on the current force. Despite three Government T.D.’s North Kildare continues to receive the worst of the cuts to services imposed by Fine Gael and Labour.
Cllr Lawless will continue to work on the valid concerns of attendees at the Crime Prevention meeting such as response times, Garda numbers in Kildare, and lack of exchange between districts.