A Mayo TD received assurance regarding the commitment of the gardaí community in the county.
MP Dara Calleary raised her concerns with Minister of State for the Ministry of Justice, James Browne.
The Ballina-based representative said: “Community engagement is key and it has to be more than just phrases on a ministerial file.
“I recognize Ballina-based Joe Doherty, who just retired as Superintendent of the Mayo Division.
“Community involvement was essential to his form of policing. I thank him for his service.
“I’m a fan of existing joint police committees.
“They work and involve rural communities, through their local elected officials, whether councilors or members of the Oireachtas, having a say in policing matters in their areas.
“It’s about the connection. I need reassurance that this connection will not be lost in new community safety partnerships.
“Joint police committees, especially in larger counties like Mayo, have worked well. They have worked well too when under the city council structure, keeping an eye on towns.
“I’m concerned that the move to these new community safety partnerships takes away another part of the supports from rural communities in terms of their day-to-day policing.”
In response, Minister of State Browne: “In terms of new community safety partnerships, I think they will prove just the opposite and will greatly enhance the role in this regard in rural communities.
“They will do this by increasing the pace of engagement with An Garda Síochána, the various representative organizations and local authorities to ensure that there is not only accountability and transparency, but also efficiency in this regarding the achievement of results on the ground and the mandatory changes.
“I assure Deputy Calleary that the actions taken regarding the record funding of An Garda Síochána, the increase in the number of gardaí who will now be trained, and the increase in the number of civilian garda personnel, which will free up the gardaí from administration duties and bringing them back to frontline work, will help strengthen the role of An Garda Síochána and make people safer in urban and rural areas.