Digging out the issues

By Mary Dennehy

PARKING, dogs off leads, speeding and security were some of the issues raised by members of the local farming community during a recent Garda community engagement day.

Last Friday, a National Community Engagement Day was held by An Garda Síochána in partnership with the Irish Farming Association (IFA).

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Residents in Bohernabreena attending the Garda meeting

An informal ‘meet and greet’ was held in more than 300 venues across Ireland, including St Anne’s Parish Hall in Bohernabreena – which was attended by community police from Tallaght and Rathfarnham Garda stations.

Speaking with The Echo, farmer Donie Anderson said: “The event was great, and helped create a connect with gardai, especially community gardai.

“Rural communities connecting with gardai is very important, especially for older people – just to know that gardai are available is reassurance.”

When asked about some of the issues raised, Donie said: “Issues around inconsiderate parking was raised at areas like the Hell Fire Club and Bohernabreena reservoir.

“This is having a huge impact on people living in the area and farmers trying to go about their work.

“Speeding is also a concern, especially on the Ballinascorney Road from Bohernabreena to Brittas.

“[The road] is also being used as a rat-run in the morning and evenings by people avoiding the Blessington Road.”

Other concerns raised included break-ins and security, and dogs being let off leads in the vicinity of farm lands.

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Philip Behan, Dog Warden SDCC, Sergeant Michael Phelan, Garda Chris Moylan, Garda Pat Courtney and Donie Anderson

South Dublin County Council’s dog warden was present to listen to the concerns of farmers in relation to loose dogs.

Community police officer, Garda Pat Courtney led the event and told The Echo that despite perceptions, the Tallaght and Rathfarnham area has a large population of farmers, with the rural landscape outweighing the urban.

“The event was about giving farmers and members of the rural community reassurance”, Garda Courtney said.

“It was about getting to know people . . . creating bonds between gardai and local farmers. There was around five or six big topics or concerns raised, and we will look at these going forward.”

According to Garda Courtney, one of the issues raised was dogs being let off leads.

“There are larger groups of walkers out and about and some are leaving dogs off leads,” Garda Courtney said.

“This is a concern for farmers, especially at this time of the year – lambing season.”

Overall, Donie said that the local community was “happy” with the engagement, and that the Garda team present was “informative and helpful”.

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