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Fine Gael councillors differ on ways to tackle crime in Ennis

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A request to set up an Ennis District policing subcommittee under the Clare Joint Policing Committee (JPC) due to the rate of crime in the town was rejected this week.

Cllr Johnny Flynn proposed at the November meeting of the Ennis Municipal District that the subcommittee be established within the structure of the JPC. “The loss of the successful Ennis JPC in 2014 which had operated since 2009 has not been good for the particular policing and community safety issues and needs of Ennis”.

He acknowledged “great work” is being done by Clare Gardaí but claimed “over 60 percent of crimes committed in the county are in Ennis”. “In the last 12 months, there has been a huge jump in attempted suicides most of it is drug related I understand. Burglaries are up 50 percent, thefts from motor vehicles up 55 percent, a significant increase that is mirroring the figures from 2009 when we set up JPC”, Cllr Flynn claimed. He said he put forward a similar request three years ago.

“I support the motion but with a bit of caution, I do see Cllr Flynn’s points” stated his Fine Gael colleague, Cllr Paul Murphy. “Will this be considered for Kilrush and Shannon”, he asked. “I would be interested in getting the opinion of the Superintendent of the town. too many quangos and committees can make the work of the main body irrelevant at times”.

An annoyed Cllr Mary Howard said “I’ve no recollection of this discussion happening three years ago”. “I’m speaking as Cllr Mary Howard and as Chair of the JPC, John Kerin’s door has always been opened, Ennis is well represented on the JPC with myself, Cllr Murphy, Cllr Norton and Cllr Daly”. She added, “I don’t like the way these numbers are being presented. We’re incredibly lucky we have been extremely well policed, our crime figures are down per capita in the country. I’m afraid of the headlines that will come out of today’s meeting. I agree with Paul, too many groups and too many meetings you’re not going to get the work done”.

Her views were reiterated by Cllr Pat Daly. “The way forward is the way it is going at the moment. Anti social behaviour is being dealt with in the town”.

In response, Cllr Flynn stated, “The basis for my proposal was as a result of the review of the performance of the JPC published at the end of 2012. To refresh Cllr Howard’s memory, I brought it up in the first term of the Ennis Municipal District. In talking about this issue I didn’t mention any individual, this wasn’t a quango, the Ennis Town Council performed very well and had four meetings a year, it’s a group to collaborate with the elected members”.

Mayor Clare Colleran Molloy then clarified that Cllr Murphy was supporting the issue. He agreed to if Cllr Flynn sought the views of Chief Superintendent John Kerin, when asked would he Cllr Flynn said “no” and subsequently Cllr Murphy remarked “Then I withdraw my support”, therefore the motion was not passed.

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