'We must learn from Britain's mistakes', Longford policing meeting on diversity is told

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

JPC

Sgt David McInerney from the Gardai's Racial, Intercultural and Diversity Office addressing members of the public this afternoon

Half of Longford's population will be of a mixed race by 2050, a public meeting was told this evening.

Members of the public were informed of the way gardai and various state agencies were already planning to adapt to that changing demographic.

At a publically convened meeting of Longford's Joint Policing Committee (JPC), onlookers were told of how empathy, respect and education were helping to drive that change.

Sgt David McInerney, from the Gardai's Racial, Intercultural and Diversity Office said lessons had already been learned from legacy issues brought about by ill advised segregation policies that still faced the likes of Britain and France.

"People came in from countries that were colonised but nobody asked them what sort of police service they wanted," he said.

There were presentations too from agencies that work with Longford's Traveller community and from FAI coaches involved in promoting greater integration at community level through sport.

One of the more intriguing insights came courtesy of Edgeworthstown based businessman Mahool Ahmed.

He revealed how despite moving to Ireland almost a decade ago and despite experiencing three separate car thefts, he now considered himself to be very much part of the wider Longford community.

'We (Muslims) follow the teachings of Islam which both starts and ends with peace," he said.

For more on this story, see next week's Longford Leader.