Fianna Fáil TD for Meath East Thomas Byrne has raised serious concerns over the lack of Garda resources assigned to Meath and has called on the Government to address the discrepancies in the allocation of manpower.
Deputy Byrne made the comments after securing a special Dáil debate following the occurrence of serious anti-social behaviour in recent days.
Deputy Byrne said, “The recent wave of crime and anti-social behaviour is alarming and has caused serious concern amongst residents in Meath. People have been left terrorised in their own communities and have felt dismayed at the lack of an appropriate response from An Garda Síochána.
“Gardaí locally on the ground have been doing their best to respond to this problem but the fact of the matter is that they simply do not have the adequate resources to respond effectively. There is a serious shortage of manpower and equipment to allow for a rapid and effective response when needed.
“The latest information which I have shows that there were 321 recorded burglaries in the Ashbourne Garda District in the last year. This compares to 241 burglaries in the entire County of Westmeath. However despite this there are just 100 Gardaí assigned to the Ashbourne Garda District while there are 267 Gardaí assigned to the Westmeath Division. This clearly demonstrates that there is an issue with the allocation of Gardaí and resources on the ground.
“The Ashbourne Garda District simply haven’t seen a proportionate increase in Garda numbers and resources as its population has grown in recent years. This simply isn’t acceptable and is leading to inequality on the ground as some communities are not receiving their fair share of policing services. I raised this issue in the Dáil this week and highlighted the need for this discrepancy to be addressed without delay.
“This is a rampant problem in communities that have experienced rapid growth in recent years. They deserve an effective policing service and the Government must ensure that Gardaí in these areas are given the manpower and resources they need to carry out their work.”