Minister must prioritise border region in Garda allocations

– Only 4 new recruits assigned to Cavan/Monaghan division –

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth has expressed disappointment after it emerged that only 4 new Gardai have been assigned to the Cavan/Monaghan division following a passing out ceremony in Templemore earlier this week. 144 Gardai graduated from the training college and will be posted at stations throughout the country.

Deputy Smyth commented, “Garda numbers across the Cavan-Monaghan division have been seriously depleted over the past 6 years. In 2010 there were 397 officers across the two counties, but figures for the end of 2015 reveal an almost 20% cut in Garda numbers, with only 322 members – a drop of 75 officers in a five year period.

“I seriously doubt that there has been any significant change in these figures, and the fact that only 4 officers have been allocated to the division, means that the force is well short of the manpower it needs to be effective in the region.

“Not only have we seen the disappearance of frontline staff, the Garda Drugs Unit in the division has been effectively scrapped and there is now no dedicated unit across the entire division. This is an extremely worrying situation, particularly given our proximity to the border. I know in my own station in Bailieborough, the role of inspector remains vacant. The previous inspector was moved to another division and was never replaced. I have already asked the Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to clarify when she expects that vacancy to be filled, and I am awaiting her response.

“As part of the facilitation agreement between Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael, we secured a commitment to increase the Garda force to 15,000. There needs to be conscious effort to ramp up Garda recruitment to ensure that we have the resources and manpower needed to effectively tackle crime. Fianna Fáil will continue to keep pressure on the Government to uphold that commitment so that communities across Cavan, Monaghan and right around the country feel safe and secure in their homes, villages and towns”.

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