Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue has said he’s alarmed by new figures from the Department of Justice which reveal that Community Garda numbers have been slashed in Co. Donegal over the past four months from 21 to 2.
Deputy McConalogue commented, “I am completely shocked by the latest Community Garda numbers, which confirm a 90% reduction in the number of officers in Co. Donegal. A parliamentary question response I have received has outlined how the number of full time community Gardaí in the county has been reduced from 21 to 2 as a result of Garda officers being allocated additional and alternative responsibilities.
“The fact that there are only 2 full-time Community Gardaí left in the county is a damning indictment of this Government’s attitude towards rural Ireland and the pressures on the Garda force in our county as a result of insufficient Garda numbers. Two full time community officers in a county the size of Donegal is ridiculous – the Minister needs to wake up to the shortage in Garda numbers and work with the Garda Commissioner to address the issue.
“Community Gardaí play an important role in towns and villages across the country. They build up relationships with local people and are involved in crime prevention measures like Neighbourhood Watch and Community Alert. The presence of a dedicated Garda provides reassurance to communities, especially ones in rural areas and the fact that these numbers have been so significantly slashed in Donegal is seriously questionable.
“I’m calling on Minister Frances Fitzgerald to address the dramatic reduction in Community Gardaí in Donegal by ensuring the allocation of additional Garda resources to the county. Such a considerable cut in such a short space of time is practically unheard of, and will be of particular concern to those communities which have lost their full time local community Garda. The closure of Garda stations across Donegal has already seen resources depleted, we cannot afford to see more officers lost. I am looking for assurances from Minister Fitzgerald that these reductions will be addressed”.