No concrete plans to improve policing in Louth – Munster
Speaking in the Dáil today, Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster criticised the falling Garda numbers in Louth, saying that Drogheda district has lost 14 Gardaí in six years. Deputy Munster also lamented the disengagement of community Gardaí and the loss of the vital service they provide.
The Louth TD said:
“Drogheda district forms part of the Louth division which includes Drogheda, Dunleer and Clogherhead area and Garda stations.
“In 2010, there were 109 Gardaí assigned to the area however, using an answer I received from the minister, I found that there are now only 95 assigned to the area, 14 less than 2010.
“This week, there was an armed robbery at the Post Office in Clogherhead. Despite ringing and pressing the panic button it took 40 mins for Garda to respond. Yet Garda station 1 minute away,
“Finding a Garda present in Clogherhead Garda station has become absolute pot luck as there are no official opening times. The exact same can be said about Dunleer station.
“Drogheda town itself is a large urban centre, and as a result has the same general problems as any other large urban area no more- no less.
“It has now come to the stage where some people have completely given up on reporting crime as there appears to be very little in regards to the following up of these complaints.
“Furthermore, community Gardaí are becoming disengaged and disenfranchised from communities because they've been required to perform other duties. You try to reach the by phone, and not unlike the more rural stations in the Drogheda area, its pot luck if you get them.
“Neighbourhood watch schemes have been put on the shelf. There are current schemes that have been enacted over a year ago, but not implemented.
“I’m aware of three applications from three estates that haven't received as much as a phone call, which is worrying to say the least as the implementation of these schemes, would make for a more efficient network.
“Recently, there have been six burglaries carried out in one estate. The perpetrator was stashing his wares in an adjoining field and returning later to collect them. Despite being filmed doing this, the guards were called and arrested him, but he was never charged.
“This disengagement with communities and community Gardaí is due to a lack of resources and manpower, not the will of the Gardaí who do great work, and who are consistently overstretched and over worked for minimal financial reward.
“It’s common knowledge in Drogheda that there is frequently only one marked car on duty to respond to calls. The Gardaí no longer work in a proactive manner, but rather a reactive one. Moral is now at an all-time low, with many crimes going unreported and unsolved. This needs to change. The Gardaí need both further recruitment and resources to do their job effectively. Turning a blind eye to resourcing community policing has compounded the problems for communities across this state. What concrete plans has the Minister to address this?”