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Sinn Féin to introduce legislation to exempt local festivals and communities from Garda policing charges – Mac Lochlainn

7 July, 2015 - by Pádraig Mac Lochlainn

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Pádraig Mac Lochlainn TD has announced that the party will publish legislation to amend Section 30 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005 to exclude local community festivals and events from being subject to charges for policing services. Sinn Féin will introduce this Bill to the Dáil as soon as possible.

Speaking after challenging Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald on the issue in the Dáil today, Deputy Mac Lochlainn said:

“I am not satisfied with the Minister Fitzgerald’s response to the issue. The Minister contends that a policy review and possible non-binding policy changes are required to address these charges. Sinn Féin does not agree with this contention. What is needed is a clear legislative provision that is binding on An Garda Síochána, so that local festivals, charity fundraisers, and voluntary events can organise their activities with the assurance that they will not, under any circumstances, be charged for policing services. Only a change to the legislation can offer this assurance and that is why we will be publishing the bill.

“The Sinn Féin Bill is clear in its objectives. An Garda Síochána will not be permitted to charge for the policing of local cultural or heritage festivals, charity fundraisers, local events that are organised on a voluntary basis and events where profit generated is invested in full for the benefit of the local community.

“The work that such committees and voluntary groups do is commendable. We must support all their efforts to fundraise, organise and sustain such events. These festivals and events provide vital tourism and recreation for many rural towns and villages across the State. Sinn Féin supports the work of these groups and will seek to protect them from exorbitant charges that undo any fundraising or grants that the festival or event may have had. ” 

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