Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue says it’s completely unacceptable for rural and border Garda Stations to have their personnel numbers depleted in order to beef up policing in urban areas. Deputy McConalogue was responding to proposals to move Gardaí from rural stations to urban stations for 8 week periods in an effort to address manpower shortages.
He commented, “These proposals were highlighted by the Garda Representative Association last week after it raised concerns about the impact the move would have on rural areas. The key issue at stake is the under resourcing of the Garda force in Donegal and it is crucial that the Minister for Justice, along with Garda HQ recognise this problem and allocate additional resources to County Donegal.
“In 2008, the Donegal force had 488 personnel. Over the intervening years, this Government has engaged in a sustained attack on Garda numbers in the county, and now there are 80 fewer officers. During the same period, eight Garda stations have closed across the county and many of those that have remained open are facing major resource problems, which are limiting officers’ ability to effectively police local areas.
“The local Garda force must be commended for its on-going work, despite the reduction in personnel and resources. This Government needs to ensure that Garda numbers are increased not depleted if they are to be able to carry out their duties effectively. Donegal is a border county and needs significant resources in border Garda stations in order to deter crime. If there are further personnel reductions in rural stations, it will result in a diminished service along the border, and will make it increasingly difficult to prevent crime in these areas.
“Frontline staff and members of the public are bearing the brunt of this Government’s cuts to essential services. I have once again contacted Minister Fitzgerald, asking her to take immediate action to ensure that the under-resourcing of the Garda force in Donegal is addressed”.