Fianna Fail councillor Pat Fitzpatrick : 'We have to be careful because crime still goes on, and some people out there might see this as an opportunity. So we have to be vigilant'
The chairman of Kilkenny's Joint Policing Committee has urged people to look after their vulnerable neighbours, and says it is now more important than ever to support the local shop - while respecting social distancing guidelines.
Cllr Pat Fitzpatrick has also praised local groups and GAA clubs across Kilkenny's many towns and villages for stepping up during this time of crisis.
"There's a real united approach to this, and this is the way we are going to get through it," he told the Kilkenny People.
"Now is the time to support the local shop, the local business. For the communities out there, now it's a chance to support local businesses as well as they can in whatever way they can. Lots of clubs and groups have received supports or sponsorship over the years, and now it's the time to roll up the sleeves and return it."
Cllr Fitzpatrick, who chairs the JPC, also said communities should be on the lookout for those who may try to exploit the current uncertainty. He said he was in regular contact with Gard Chief Superintendent Dominic Hayes and Kilkenny's crime prevention officer Sgt Peter McConnon.
"They are very visible, and they're doing everything they can and supporting people. They know they have a job to do," he said.
"We have to be careful because crime still goes on, and some people out there might see this as an opportunity. So we have to be vigilant. I would appeal to all community groups, such as the Text Alert groups, to work closely with An Garda Siochana.
"Look out for your neighbours and check on each other, in particular, in the quiet parts of North Kilkenny and the rural parts. There are people on their own or separated from loved ones. Everyone needs to keep in contact, and make sure they know who and where they are giving and getting their information from."