Thursday, 3 October 2019

Ceisteanna (25)

Tony McLoughlin


25. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the impact the use of Eircodes will have in combating crime in rural areas; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28565/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Justice)

I am informed that An Garda Síochána, and other emergency services, consider the use of Eircodes to be of vital assistance in locating the position of emergency callers, particularly in rural areas where non-unique addresses can be a significant issue.

Eircodes can assist on a practical level with preventing crime.  An Garda Síochána encourage the marking of property as a crime prevention measure. Where this is done in communities, signs can be erected in the area indicating that property has been marked. This, in itself, acts as a significant deterrent to criminals and has, I understand, had very positive effects on crime rates.

Marking property with an Eircode has a number of distinct advantages. Aside from reducing the likelihood that your property will be stolen in the first place, it can assist Gardaí in identifying stolen property that a person may have in their possession and provides evidence for prosecutions. It also allows for identification of the rightful owner and the return of property quickly and efficiently.

I am informed that highly successful pilot projects involving the marking of property with eircodes have been carried out in West Cork and Monaghan and are being adopted by communities elsewhere in the country.  While supported by An Garda Síochána, these initiatives have been successfully adopted by the local communities involved. Whatever method is used, I would strongly encourage people to mark their property be it farm machinery, bicycles, computers or other personal property and to consider the advantages of using a unique identifier - such as eircode - in doing so.  

I would also like to note the National Rural Safety Forum launched last month at the National Ploughing Championships.  The Forum was established following stakeholder consultation between my Department, An Garda Síochána and key partners such as the Irish Farmers Association and Muintir na Tire.  One of the key objectives of the forum is crime prevention and crime opportunity reduction with a focus on property marking, recording, identification and return.  The Forum will, through individual and collective efforts, attempt to significantly increase the level of property marking and property recording nationally with a view to increasing deterrence, assisting in prevention of crime and to assisting in the identification of stolen property.