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O’Neill meets with Chief Constable

26 January, 2012 - by Michelle O'Neill

Agriculture and Rural Development Minister, Michelle O’Neill, today met with the Chief Constable to discuss the action being taken to address the issue of ongoing attacks on Loughs Agency staff.

After the meeting with Matt Baggott, Minister O’Neill said: “Last month I met with the Justice Minister to discuss the issue of Loughs Agency staff being intimidated and assaulted while carrying out their duties by preventing poaching in the Foyle and Carlingford Areas. I have seen for myself the excellent work that the Agency’s staff do in protecting the Foyle and Carlingford fisheries, and the significant amount of poaching related equipment that Agency staff have confiscated.

“At today’s meeting with the Chief Constable, we discussed these issues in further detail and I have heard about what the PSNI is doing to ensure that these unacceptable attacks do not continue. We agreed to establish improved liaison between the Garda Síochána, Loughs Agency and the PSNI and I welcome the efforts that the PSNI and the Garda Síochána are making to address the issue.”

At the meeting the Minister also raised the issue of rural crime.

She said: “I am concerned at the increasing levels of crime in rural areas, in particular the theft of farm equipment and livestock rustling across the north. I recently raised these concerns with Minister Ford and call on the Chief Constable to ensure that effective action is being taken on the ground to prevent this trend continuing.”

During the meeting the Minister also urged the PSNI to use DARD Direct Offices to ensure that crime prevention information is more easily accessed by farmers, and the Chief Constable agreed to take up this offer.

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