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Councillors ‘snubbed’ by Gardaí on crime statistics


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Councillors ‘snubbed’ by Gardaí on crime statistics Councillors ‘snubbed’ by Gardaí on crime statistics

Councillors have claimed they are being ‘snubbed’ by Gardaí in a row over how crime figures are being presented to the City Joint Policing Committee (JPC).

Members of the JPC have been informed that under a new regime, the figures will not be given to them in advance of the meeting which some representatives claimed was obstructing their ability to scrutinise the details.

The recently-appointed Chief Superintendent for Galway Division, Gerard Roche, said this was how JPCs were run in “the vast majority” of cases.

“It’s so that nothing gets out in the media before the meeting. There are no big secrets, but that’s how we prefer to do it,” he said.

A number of local representatives took umbrage with the move, including Cllr Donal Lyons (Ind) who questioned how councillors were supposed to prepare for a meeting for which they had no details in advance.

“I find it concerning,” said Cllr Lyons. “It is a snub on the people attending the meeting that they don’t have the report in front of them.”

Cllr Frank Fahy (FG) concurred and said it showed a lack of trust on gardaí’s part for elected members who were there to carry out their duty.

“I’m wasting my time coming to a meeting if I cannot be trusted with a garda report,” said Cllr Fahy who argued that the decision to withhold the report should have been one made by the committee as a whole.

“It should have been discussed by members and a decision made. This is unacceptable in my book,” he continued.

“There hasn’t been a case that I can recall where a member of the JPC has released it to the media. I may as well just tune out for the next half hour because I’m attending a meeting with my hands tied behind my back.”

Cllr Eddie Hoare (FG) questioned if the Standing Orders agreed by members of the JPC were being breached by withholding the report until after the meeting.

Cllr Mike Crowe (FF) said members should give the new Chief Superintendent the opportunity to try this new system and revisit it if it wasn’t working.

Chairperson of the JPC, Cllr Níall McNelis, said it had only been confirmed to him in the days ahead of the meeting that the system had changed.

“I do believe we should have the report in front of us before the meeting,” he said.

Chief Supt Roche said it was more practical that the report be presented during the meeting and circulated afterwards, but “if the committee wants it beforehand, we can do that”.



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