HomeNewsCouncillors row over Joint Policing Committee

Councillors row over Joint Policing Committee


Limerick City Councillor Tom Shortt
Limerick City Councillor Tom Shortt

THE ongoing conflict regarding the proposed Northside Youth Space in Ballynanty escalated this week as city councillor Tom Shortt called for the resignation of his fellow councillor Michael Hourigan from the Limerick City Joint Policing Committee.

The Labour councillor claimed that “senior gardaí in the city are privately very unhappy with the political manipulation of the Joint Policing Committee by its chairman Cllr Michael Hourigan”.

Cllr Shortt said that the Fine Gael councillor’s position on the JPC had been compromised “for suppressing the delivery of a Garda report” that he requested to “inform councillors on how they should vote on the resourcing of a vital Garda Diversion project.”

However, Chief Superintendent Dave Sheahan told Limerick Post that “there was no suppression of a report” and that “there is no specific report on youth diversion projects”.

He added: “Sergeant Seamus O’Neill was to give a powerpoint presentation to the JPC in March just to inform the meeting about the link between juvenile diversion projects and restorative justice and how we operate in that context. I have no problem with making the same presentation at the next JPC.”

Cllr Hourigan rejected Cllr Shortt’s accusations, saying: “In my capacity as chair of the Joint Policing Committee, I have never suppressed any report about Garda Diversion as, due to our procedures, there was no report about Garda Diversion to suppress.”

He added that the Limerick City JPC has never asked gardaí to supply reports about specific issues such as Garda Diversion projects “in response to notices of motion from councillors”.

Cllr Hourigan continued: “No senior Garda has ever expressed any concern to me about my method of chairing the Joint Policing Committee and indeed, I would be very surprised if they were privately expressing those views to Cllr Shortt in order that he could convey them publicly.”

If the planned Northside Youth Space gets the go-ahead following a city council vote in September, it is expected to house the Ballynanty Garda Youth Diversion Project.

Regarding the proposed Youth Space, Cllr Shortt said: “The behaviour of Cllr Hourigan is typical of the tactics of the anti-youth centre campaign. That campaign has refused to recognise the value of Garda Diversion and the need for enhanced youth facilities in the area while the campaign has specialised in spreading misinformation and whipping up fear about the proposed new facility.”

Cllr Hourigan stated that he had been “very supportive of the building of the new centre” but noted that it should be “a centre for the entire city” and that there was no need for it to be located in Ballynanty.

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