Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Brendan Smith has again appealed to the Justice Minister to secure additional Garda personnel for the Cavan/Monaghan Division, in light of crime levels in the region and the additional policing demands due to a land border with the North.
He raised the issue in the Dáil earlier this week.
“Since 2010, the Garda force in County Cavan has been reduced by around 20% and by almost 28% in Monaghan. Given the border with Northern Ireland and the imminent impact of Brexit, which is still largely unknown, this region is dealing with unique policing demands. I am anxious that in the context of the allocation of new recruits, the particular policing needs of the Cavan Monaghan Division should be given urgent consideration and additional resources are provided, including personnel”, said Deputy Smith.
“The large geographical area of the Division also brings its own problems, especially in light of falling Garda numbers and reduced Garda station opening hours. There are four Garda districts in Cavan/Monaghan. The Cavan district alone has 80 km of a border with County Fermanagh. There are around 21 official crossings and there are unofficial crossings as well. Garda resources in the Division are already overstretched and I have real concerns that the situation will deteriorate further unless more officers are assigned to the region.
“Unfortunately, there are still unsavoury elements operating along the Border. We know of the illicit trade in fuel and tobacco products. Those people have not gone away. I have previously called for the establishment of a cross-Border crime agency to deal with the illegal trade in goods on an all-Ireland basis.
“The Fresh Start Agreement incorporated some of the measures we had proposed in our Cross-Border Crime Agency Bill to ensure that the new measures that were put in place were effective. In counties such as Cavan, Monaghan, Louth and neighbouring areas along the Border, An Garda Síochána needs additional resources.
“I am appealing to the Minister to ensure that the Garda Commissioner and the senior officers in An Garda Síochána, who make the decisions on the allocation of resources, are mindful of the particular policing needs in our Division and in other Border areas”, concluded Deputy Brendan Smith.