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Introduction of public meetings to JPC process essential to its success – Ó Snodaigh

29 November, 2007

Speaking during a consultation of Joint Policing Committee (JPC) members hosted by the Minister for Justice, Sinn Féin TD and Community Safety Spokesman Aengus Ó Snodaigh said: "Today's evaluation of the JPCs' work to date offers a real opportunity for the Minister to address the shortcomings experienced thus far so as to ensure the future success of all JPCs including the remaining 85 which are set to be established next year."

Deputy Ó Snodaigh outlined a number of key priorities areas that are in need of review:

"Funding must be made available to ensure that all JPCs host regular public meetings. Community engagement and buy in to this process is critical to its success.

"Such an approach was adopted by Letterkenny following a proposal by Sinn Féin JPC Vice Chair Cllr. Gerry Mc Monagle. Two public consultation meetings were held there which will increase public confidence in the process and will enhance the quality and potential effectiveness of all resulting actions. Unfortunately Letterkenny has been the exception rather than the rule with most JPCs demonstrating a reluctance to host public meetings despite this being one of their statutory functions.

"A major failing of the JPCs to date has been the lack of resources allocated to them. If the committees are to work effectively personnel and monies must be allocated to promote its work. Government has talked up its commitment to community policing, it must now put its money where its mouth is.

"If we do not secure community engagement the JPC process will become a talking shop with no real benefit to the wider community.

"We are also proposing that the guidelines be amended to provide that the membership of the JPCs be equally made up of cross-party elected representatives, statutory agencies and the community and voluntary sector." CRÍOCH

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