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Words must be backed by actions on the ground and necessary resources

19 April, 2004


Sinn Féin candidate for Dublin in the forthcoming EU Elections Mary Lou McDonald has welcomed remarks by the Garda Commissioner Noel Conroy, which suggest the force is committed to providing a service to all areas, particularly marginalised parts of the city. Speaking after attending a seminar entitled Developing Integrated Policing organised by the Blanchardstown Local Drugs Task Force and the Combat Poverty Agency held in An Draoicht in Blanchardstown this morning, Ms McDonald was concerned however, at whether this commitment, would be matched by actions and resources.

Ms McDonald said: "While the remarks of the Garda Commissioner are undoubtedly welcome, they are scant comfort for local communities across Dublin besieged by anti-social behaviour who see themselves as having been abandoned by the Gardaí to struggle on without any level of police service. The Gardaí must realise that this is a genuinely held perception in marginalised and deprived communities and work to counteract it.

"The best way to do this is for the new local policing committees envisaged in proposed legislation to have at their hearts the needs and interests of the communities they serve and meaningful representation from the local people. We need new structures for community policing that are accountable to the community and adequately resourced. Words must be backed by actions on the ground and the necessary resources.

"I believe Sinn Féin's recently published policy on Garda reform, Policing for the People, points the way to accountable and transparent policing that is founded on a community centred approach where marginalised communities are not seen by the Gardaí as problems, but as people to be assisted and protected. If the Government is truly committed to this approach they will make sure that more than bland rhetoric is provided." ENDS

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