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Thursday, 28th March 2024

First meeting of new All Ireland Community Safety Network held in Drogheda

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The first session of a new All Ireland Community Safety Network, a collaboration between Drogheda Implementation Board, Longford Community Safety Partnership and Newry Mourne and Down Policing and Community Safety Partnership and is funded through the Department of Justice’s Community Safety Innovation Fund, was held in Drogheda recently.

Launching the event, Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee TD said:

This all-Island network will allow a statutory and community partners to hear about examples of effective collaborative community safety projects in both jurisdictions and to also develop mutually beneficial cross border relationships to enhance community safety across the island of Ireland.

The partners identified Domestic, Sexual and Gender Based Violence (DSGBV) as a topic which impacts communities all over Ireland. The first Network event therefore focused on this topic.

Attendees travelled from all over Ireland and included representatives of both statutory and community sector organisations. Presentations were given from representatives of the Departments of Justice from both sides of the border who gave an insight into the legislative context in both jurisdictions.

Senior representatives of An Garda Síochana and the PSNI also spoke about the policing context, with both highlighting the increase in the level of domestic abuse incidents being reported. Both also referred to an increase in reporting of sexual offences in the past year, indicating that this is a result of increased awareness of and trust in the system when it comes to reporting these offences.

Louise O’Mahony and Orla Walsh of the Red Door Project pictured at the All Ireland Community Safety Network meeting in Drogheda.

Given the breadth of agencies represented – including frontline DSGBV services; local authorities from across the country; Tusla; HSE; Community Safety Partnership structures and policing representatives it was important to the event organisers that there were opportunities to engage with and hear about collaborative projects in the field of DSGBV.

Interactive ‘Good Practice’ workshops showcasing such collaborative projects were hosted by Men’s Aid Ireland; Seeking Safety Ireland; Longford Women’s Link; and Women’s Aid Armagh Down while information also shared on initiatives such as the Drogheda Women and Children’s Refuge Courageous project, and the delivery of Ask for Angela in Drogheda.

Speaking after the event, Gráinne Berrill, Coordinator of Drogheda Implementation Board said

"We are so pleased with how this first All-Ireland Community Safety Network event has gone. In terms of numbers attendance has far exceeded our expectations when we were initially planning for Network activities.

Speakers at the conference were (from left): Emma Crozier (DOJ NI), Rita Geraghty (DAWN Women’s Group), Heather Campbell (PSNI),  Laura Cooney (DOJ ROI), Adrian Kinsalle (Garda Siochana) and Ryan Duffy (PSNI). 

"We are getting very positive feedback already with 100% of respondents to a poll we held on the day indicating that they made new contacts through coming to this event. This is great for us to hear as the fostering of relationships between partners working in the community safety arena is a key objective of the Network. Many attendees also said that they gained lots of insights into DSGBV and ideas for projects that could be replicated in their area.

"We are really looking forward to hosting our next Network session which will be held towards the end of this year."

If you are interested in finding out more about the All Ireland Community Safety Network contact Drogheda Implementation Board at implementationboard@lmetb.ie.

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