By Helen Riddell
GARDAI from Castletownbere Garda Station plan to hold a community drop-in facility on Bere Island every two to three weeks, in an effort to combat rural crime and strengthen their community presence.
Garda Dave Fenton from Castletownbere will be available in the local community centre for islanders to have forms authorised and to discuss any other issues.
The initiative on Bere Island was launched at a meeting of the island’s Active Retirement Group by Superintendent Brendan Fogarty of Bantry Garda Station, who was accompanied by Sergeant Derek Mulcahy and Garda Dave Fenton from Castletownbere Garda Station.
The idea originally came about at a meeting of the West Cork Islands Inter Agency Group, as a way of increasing Garda presence in rural communities, particularly on the islands.
Supt Fogarty outlined that the gardai were conscious that for those living on the island, attending the Garda Station in Castletownbere to have forms authorised or filled could sometimes be difficult, due to the logistics of getting to the mainland.
He commented that while overall crime rates in the Beara Peninsula are low, he stressed the need for all to keep an eye on elderly neighbours living alone, and to generally be more aware of any unusual activity in their local area.
Supt Fogarty outlined a number of successful crime prevention measures already in place throughout Beara, including Community Alert, Farm Watch and Business Text Alert.
He also said that West Cork Crime Prevention Officer Ian O’Callaghan would visit Bere Island to offer advice on crime prevention measures.