Much has happened with Property Marking Ireland over the past 30 months in the delivery of our community-led crime prevention program. COVID, of which you are all only too well aware, changed dramatically the delivery of our program on the ground. We suspended all training from the first week of March 2020 in order to protect our community partners and, indeed, our own volunteers.
However, a lot of positive developments had happened before Covid struck . Our program was up and running in many counties and, as of now, is operating in almost all counties.
To date we have marked over 800,000 household property items, trained over 2,000 community volunteers and 550 Gardai in over 450 communities.
RECOGNITION BY THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
One of the most important and critical events for Property Marking Ireland, however, was when it applied to and was awarded substantial funding by the Department of Justice to seed the roll-out of the programme over the next 4 years. In a way, this was the breakthrough that Property Marking Ireland has been seeking. The funding being provided by the Department will enable the company to hire some staff, to establish an office base and to build a sustainable community enterprise with long-term funding from commercial partners and philanthropic donations as well as what the company will generate in traded income. Speaking when the funding from the Department was announced, Denis Duggan, Chair of Property Marking Ireland stated “This award means so much to us. It validates the huge effort which has been made by the Board and James O’Neill himself over the last five years. The funding is, of course important in terms of what it will enable us to do. But at least as important, is the recognition that comes with the award. It really makes us all feel that the work we have been doing has been worthwhile. We are so grateful to the Minister and her officials for this support”.
Since the funding was awarded last August, PMI has established an office in Newcastle in Tipperary, has hired three staff and is actively recruiting one more and has continued with its on-the-ground work.
OTHER NATIONAL RECOGNITION
PMI and James O’Neill in particular, have been the recipient of 2 national awards in the last few years. These were as a Social Entrepreneurs Ireland Awardee in 2019 and recipients of a Rethink Ireland Award in 2020
This validation was a testament to the collective hard work of all our participating communities, and the support of our partners but it also demonstrated the value that external observers see in the programme and the way that it can help to deter crime.
Over 500 signs which include the Garda logo have been erected by communities. Their visible presence has been a positive deterrent to those wishing to engage in property theft . This signage is a critical part of the model and the provision of signage will be ramped up significantly in the coming years.
While the Department of Justice is a key partner of Property Marking Ireland, there are many more who have worked and continue to work closely with us n this journey.We say a huge thank you to the support shown by the participating Joint Policing Committees, Local Authorities, An Garda Síochána, Eircode, IFA Skillnet program. We also recognise the critical role of the members of Community Alert, Neighbourhood Watch, farming groups, Men’s Sheds, residents’ associations, and many more who, after receiving the specially designed training program from PMI, then deliver the service within their own communities.