25 May 2022

Full text of open letter to the Minister of Justice Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris from the people of Longford

Full text of open letter to the Minister of Justice Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris from the people of Longford

Minister for Justice Helen McEntee

Following a resurgence of criminally violent acts in Longford in the last three months, it is long overdue for this sort of crime, which is hugely contributing to Longford’s reputational damage, to be halted.

The general public are appalled at these crimes, often committed in public spaces and heralded on social media as some perverted badge of honour. There is no doubt that due to these public crimes, many people are in fear and are avoiding Longford to the detriment of local economic activity.

The Gardai have arrested and charged most of the perpetrators of these heinous crimes but there are major concerns as to how they will be treated by the Judicial system. Time and again we are seeing suspended sentences being doled out for violent crimes in Longford.

Subsequently, when further crimes are committed by these criminals, rarely is the suspended sentence added to any sentence passed down. A major factor in these crimes being committed, is that these thugs know full well they will not get the sentence their crimes deserve. This has to stop. It is time to put these violent thieves, drug dealers and extortionists away for maximum sentences.

The use of the term ‘feud’ should also cease. This extremely violent criminal activity has no place in a civilised society and Longford deserves better.

While we respect the independence of the Judiciary, we call for the Minister of Justice to request the Presidents of the various Courts to review the granting of bail for repeat offenders and the handing down of suspended sentences where an ongoing pattern of violent crimes have been perpetrated.

It is obvious that Longford has a small violent criminal class that is a continuing open wound on the community as a whole.

County Longford has been selected as one of three national pilots for the Local Community Safety Partnerships which are being mooted as a replacement for the existing Joint Policing Committees. It is also obvious that currently Longford is not perceived as being a safe place.

To ensure the success of this Pilot, that has been running from 2021, extra Garda resources are required now. The resources are currently not available to allow the deployment of a daily foot patrol in Longford Town. Whereas this is not a panacea to Longford’s crime problems, the physical presence will act as a deterrent to on-street violence and anti-social behaviour.

Maybe more importantly, it will be a psychological signal to the public that Longford Town is a safe place. We call on the Garda Commissioner to make those resources available as a matter of urgency.

Cllr Peggy Nolan, Cathaoirleach Longford County Council, Joe Flaherty TD, Senator Micheal Carrigy. Councillors: Uruemu Adejinmi, Paraic Brady, John Browne, Seamus Butler, Mick Cahill, Mark Casey, Colin Dalton, Gerard Farrell, Gerry Hagan, Turlough McGovern, Martin Monaghan, Colm Murray, Gary Murtagh, Pat O’Toole, P J Reilly, Paul Ross and Gerry Warnock. Longford Chamber of Commerce & Industry
Co Longford IFA
Co Longford ICA
Ballymahon Traders Association
Edgeworthstown Traders Association
Lanesboro Town Team
County Longford Vintners
Longford Tidy Towns
Longford GAA
Longford Rugby Club
Longford Town FC
Co Longford Golf Club
Longford Tennis Club
Co Longford Scuba Divers
Co Longford Triathlon Club
Longford Community Resources CLG
Longford Traveller Healthcare Project
Midland Polish Community
Longford African Network
Attic Youth Club
Hype Fest
Backstage Theatre
Cruthu Arts Festival
St Mel’s Musical Society
Longford Ploughing Association
Longford Vintage Club
Longford Men’s Shed
Killoe Men’s Shed
Drumlish/Ballinamuck Men’s Shed
Fr James McKiernan ADM St. Mel’s Cathedral

Time feuding Longford criminals are put away for 'maximum sentences'

All 18 of Longford's county councillors have issued an open letter to Justice Minister Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris in the wake of a recent upsurge in violent crime.


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