Limerick’s DEM must chair Community Safety Forum, Labour candidate declares

Cllr Conor Sheehan pictured at the launch of his mayoral campaign. Photo: Brendan Gleeson

LABOUR mayoral candidate Cllr Conor Sheehan believes that the new Limerick mayor must chair the Community Safety Forum, set to replace Joint Policing Committees (JPCs), which have been abolished under the Policing Security and Community Safety Bill.

Cllr Sheehan considers JPCs one of the “few useful” changes of the 2014 Local Government reforms and regrets the decision to abolish and replace them with what is essentially a rehashed Local Community Safety Partnership.

“Nevertheless, the new Community Safety Forum should be chaired by the directly-elected mayor,” he said, who will “have a mandate from approximately 210,000 people across Limerick city and county, along with a number of executive functions which will transfer from the chief executive”.

“The mayor will be the most powerful politician in Limerick city and county and the notion that the Community Safety Forum would be chaired by essentially a random person is absurd.

“We are short 30 Gardaí in Limerick according to the Chief Superintendent and the mayor will have two standing statutory meetings a year with the entire government and will have the mandate and influence to get the Garda resources we need,” he said.

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“Having the mayor chair the Community Safety Forum also makes the mayor accountable to the members of the forum. It is the norm in other jurisdictions that the directly-elected mayor would be the Police and Crime Commissioner and unfortunately the government did not take on board amendments from Labour and others to give the mayor executive powers in relation to policing.”