Strong concerns have being raised by the Chairman of the Joint Policing Committee on the allocation and distribution of gardaí to Kilkenny since the garda divisional headquarters moved to Waterford in 2019.
A number of councillors spoke out at a recent JPC meeting about a reduction in the number of gardaí in some stations and the impact that was having locally.
Councillor Pat Dunphy asked about resources for Mooncoin Garda Station.
“I am very concerned for the station and I am afraid that it might be moved into Waterford City. We have to make sure to get back what we have lost. Now is the time with recruits coming out,” he said.
Cllr Deirdre Cullen also asked how many gardaí have been redeployed from Thomastown in the past two years and how many of those members have been replaced.
Cllr Tomas Breatnach re-iterated the concerns raised over staffing at Mooncoin Garda Station and said that it needed to be ‘well-resourced to provide the services’ needed in the area. Cllr Breatnach also asked if a garda would be appointed for the village of Kilmacow in South Kilkenny.
Chairman of the JPC, Cllr Pat Fitzpatrick also raised the need for more garda resources for North Kilkenny and said that he was looking for a second sergeant for Castlecomer.
“The real concern here is that we do not become a victim of our own success.
“Our crime statistics show a significant reduction in many areas. I want to commend the gardaí in Kilkenny for the work that they do but as a public representative I need to support them in maintaining their resources and getting additional resources where needed.
“I have never hidden my displeasure over the moving of the divisional headquarters to Waterford as I feel this has an impact on policing in Kilkenny.
“I make no apologies for looking for more resources and we have to do everything in our power to continue in the fight against crime and the havoc that causes in our communities. I will continue to hold the Chief Super responsible for policing and resources in Kilkenny,” he said.
Chief Superintendent Padraig Dunne said that there are currently over 200 gardaí stationed between the Kilkenny and Thomastown Garda Districts.
“I am also concerned. I haven’t any doubt that everyone wants more and I will do my best to support everyone,” he said adding that the Kilkenny/Carlow Division is currently down around six gardaí.
The Chief Supt also said that Kilmacow Garda Station is not closing and said that he was looking for more resources.
Deputy John McGuinness has raised the matter with the Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee in the form of a parliamentary question.
The Kilkenny TD asked the Minister the number of gardaí allocated to counties Carlow, Kilkenny and Waterford over the past five years; the number of garda stations closed in each in the past five years in each county; and the number of personnel attached to each special unit such as serious crime and drugs.
The Minister replied that it is a matter for the Divisional Chief Superintendent to determine the optimum distribution of duties among the personnel available to them, having regard to the profile of each area within the division and its specific needs.
The Minister provided the number of garda members assigned to the Kilkenny/Carlow and Waterford Divisional Drugs Units for 2018 and for each subsequent year up to and including 28 February 2022.
This showed that currently there are two sergeants and six gardaí attached to the Kilkenny/Carlow Division compare to one sergeant and 12 gardaí for the Waterford Division.
In 2019 An Garda Síochána announced major changes to its structures, processes, services and governance. As part of the plans, the Carlow/Kilkenny Garda Division merged with the Waterford Division as part of a reduction in Divisions from 28 to 19 - which has commenced on a phased basis.
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