Those in attendance at the Cooley Peninsula joint community alert committee meeting in Omeath last night
The Cooley Peninsula’s joint community alert committee have accused local politicians of “broken promises” after an agreement to arrange a meeting with Minister for Justice Alan Shatter a year ago next week was not followed through on.
The joint community alert committee represents the people of Faughart, Ravensdale, Lordship, Glenmore/Mullaghbuoy, Cooley and Omeath.
Following a meeting in Omeath last night, the committee issued the following statement…
“January 2013 was a bad start for the citizens of the Cooley Peninsula. Garda Adrian Donohoe was murdered in the process of an armed robbery at Bellurgan Credit Union. As a popular sports enthusiast with St. Patrick’s GAA Club and living a short distance from the violent crime, Garda Donohue’s murder sent shockwaves through the community.
“Anger, fear and frustration were expressed at a public meeting in the St Patrick’s Clubhouse on March 11th. All local representatives were invited to hear people’s concerns and to answer the big question ‘what can be done?’
“Seamus Kirk TD, Fergus O’Dowd Junior Minister, Gerry Adams TD and Senator Jim D’Arcy attended the meeting and sat at the top table whilst county councillors from several political parties sat in the audience. Community alert groups were represented from Faughart, Ravensdale, Lordship, Glenmore/Mullaghbuoy, Cooley, and Omeath and made passionate pleas to politicians and Gardaí to stop a long run of violent crimes. Examples of armed robberies of post offices, garages and recently the credit union were given as well as burglaries, car crime and the theft of farm machinery were cited as examples of things spiralling out of control.
“A more effective Garda presence was demanded with targeted patrols. A bigger buy-in from the community was offered on the basis of a partnership to protect everyone young and old in their homes. Our elected representatives offered solidarity and advice but a further request was put forward. Local citizens and representatives agreed that a meeting with Minister for Justice Alan Shatter would be a good idea and a general consensus was reached among attendees. Fergus O’Dowd accelerated the audience’s hopes by promising to deliver such a meeting in six weeks.
“This began a process of preparation by all the community alert groups to work out a common position for our meeting with the Minister. A greater sense of solidarity emerged as all community alert groups worked together and co-operated throughout this task. Unfortunately, it was the beginning of a very long process that reaped no rewards and got us nowhere near Minister Alan Shatter.
“At first, we were told to gather all of our facts and figures and to meet Superintendent Curley. We met with the Superintendent and were satisfied with the meeting.
“As time rolled on, the deadline slipped and attendance at meetings dwindled as the momentum slowed. Our energy and enthusiasm waned as we slowly came to realise that our meeting may not happen. Peter Fitzpatrick was asked to help. Possible dates were mentioned but those dates came and went.
“We soon started to feel as if we were not being taken seriously. Christmas passed us by. Garda Donohoe’s first year anniversary was marked and yet there were still no signs of a meeting.
“As we approach the anniversary of our public meeting there has been no meeting with Minister Alan Shatter. Communications between the six community alert groups, Fergus O’Dowd and Jim D’Arcy now have cobwebs on them.
“On March the 11th 2013 we sat for two hours in the St. Patrick’s GAA Clubhouse. When that meeting ended we made a commitment to talk to the elected representatives whom we thought would assist us. Now twelve months on all we have is a broken promise.”