George Lee interviews locals for RTE

interview (Small)

George Lee, RTE’s agriculture correspondent spent yesterday, Saturday, June 14th, interviewing in South Wicklow and North Wexford on the subject of rural isolation and poverty.

He first visited Quinn’s Mart in Carnew and spoke to farmers and workers there, and then paid a visit to Askamore. He interviewed Paddy Byrne, representing Muintir na Tíre locally, Pat Murray who spoke on behalf of IFA, Mary Donohoe of Askamore Community Alert and Jim Martin, chairman of Askamore Community Council. The interviews are to be broadcast on Wednesday next, June 18th on 6.01 News.

Tinahely Show – Askamore Muintir na Tíre Community Council tent

Tomorrow is the annual Tinahely Show, and this year Askamore Community Council, under the auspices of Muintir na Tíre, will have a tent where people can get information on how to set up community texting to combat rural crime.

The Council members will also be selling their raffle tickets on the stand.

Bring your wellies and come visit us in Aisle B – opposite S & N Granite.

Askamore Text Alert – in The Irish Times today

Big rise in Community Alert schemes


THERE HAS been a 20 per cent increase in the number of Community Alert schemes set up around the State, following a rise in rural crime.

Muintir na Tíre, which runs Community Alert, said it now had more than 1,400 schemes and had noted a “dramatic increase” in calls from people seeking information about setting up schemes and keeping their homes and farms safe.

The scheme involves people reporting suspicious activities, liaising with local gardaí and looking out for their neighbours.

Its national co-ordinator, Liam Kelly, said 40 new groups were set up last year and 34 others were reactivated.

“We’ve about 12 new groups already this year and a huge amount of calls,” he said.

Garda figures show that burglaries rose 8 per cent nationally last year but the increase was as high as 40 per cent in some areas.

Recent aggravated burglaries of older people’s homes in places such as Pallasgreen in Limerick and Williamstown in Galway caused a great sense of insecurity, particularly among older people, Mr Kelly said.

Last month in Pallasgreen a farmhouse was robbed and its inhabitants, two sisters and a brother, were tied up with cable for almost three hours.

Earlier this month, two elderly brothers were tied up and robbed in their secluded farmhouse in Williamstown.

“An incident locally can create huge fear,” Mr Kelly said. “Garda stations are closing and people are very concerned about that. They want to know that there’s someone they can turn to in the absence of local gardaí.”

The increase in the theft of scrap metal has led the Irish Farmers’ Association to call for the introduction of a “track and trace” scheme, which would compel all scrap metal dealers to record the source of scrap metal received.

The farm group said the scheme should also include mandatory checks by local authorities and An Garda Síochána.

Its rural affairs chairman, Harold Kingston, said it was regularly getting reports of valuable machinery disappearing from farmyards and fields as part of work carried out by a sophisticated network of criminals.

Muintir na Tíre is now campaigning to get Garda approval for a national roll-out of a text-alert scheme, after successful pilot schemes in places such as Kerry, Tipperary and Wexford.

One such scheme is running in Askamore, Co Wexford. The community has erected signs that read: “Beware, community texting in operation. You’re welcome if you should be here. We text 300 people and gardaí if you shouldn’t.”

People are asked to call the scheme if they see anything suspicious, and the volunteer manning the phone then decides if it merits a group text being sent.

Mr Kelly said there were dozens of text-alert schemes around the country but all were run in different ways, and a national scheme for such operations would be preferable.

Muintir na Tíre AGM

Nest Thursday, May 31st, sees Muintir na Tíre host its AGM in Murroe, Co. Limerick. Askamore Community Council and Askamore Community Alert are both under the auspices of this national body, and it is hoped that a number of people locally will travel for this AGM.

There is a very good line-up of speakers and topics:

Repossession of Family Homes by Ross Maguire of New Beginning

Suicide on the increase: Dan Neville TD

Rural Homes under seige from increased burglaries: Asst. Garda Commissioner

Funding for Rural Communities: Carmel Fox

John Lonergan will give the keynote address.

If you would like to attend the AGM, there is a bus being organised which will leave locally next Thursday for Limerick at approx. noon. Cost €10, refreshments will be provided at AGM.

If you would like to travel please give your name to Lorraine on 086 418 3357  as soon as possible, but before next Monday evening.

5-year Plan Launch

Askamore’s 5-year plan is being made public tonight – 8pm in the Activity Centre. Come along to hear the results of the recent survey, and how those results are to become reality in the local area. Also visiting us tonight is John Hogan, the national president of Muintir na Tíre, under whose auspices the local Community Council is set up. This is his first visit locally.John Hogan, national president, Muintir na Tíre

Following tonight’s launch of the plan, the document will be available online.

We hope to see you at the launch tonight – please come, and bring family and friends for this exciting event in Askamore’s history.