Longford-Westmeath Fianna Fáil TD Robert Troy has said he is very concerned about garda resources in Kinnegad, which is in the Mullingar Garda District.

Deputy Troy has asked the Minister for Justice to ensure the necessary resources are available for a Garda patrol car for Kinnegad Garda Station and has also questioned the Minister about the impact of pending retirements on the manpower available at the station.

Deputy Troy commented: “Minister Alan Shatter has informed me that “the personnel strength of Kinnegad Garda Station and Mullingar Garda District, on the latest date for which figures are available, was 4 and 160 respectively.  The District is also supported by 16 Garda Reserves and 14 civilian staff.”  However the Minister has failed to give any guarantee on the strength of the force operating in the Mullingar District.  I am concerned, and I know many people in the community who are worried, about the potential impact that retirements within the force will have on policing in the area and the number of Gardaí who will be available on duty to respond to any serious incidents.

“In particular I questioned Minister Shatter about the provision of a patrol car for Kinnegad Garda Station and I am not reassured by the Minister’s response.  The Minister has informed me that he understands that “specific details in relation to the deployment of the new Garda transport have yet to be fully finalised but the Deputy can be assured that the vehicles will be allocated as effectively as possible in line with operational circumstances, including the requirements of area referred to by the Deputy.”

“The fact is Minister Shatter has slashed community resources over the last three years.  While I welcome the fact that there is some investment in the Garda fleet now there is no denying this is coming from a very low base.  The Minister must be in a position to ensure that the 305 new Garda vehicles purchased towards the end of 2013, at a cost of €5 million, are allocated to the areas that are most in need.

“I have been working closely with my party colleague Councillor John Shaw on this issue.  We have both received numerous representations from concerned residents in Kinnegad on illegal behaviour.  Kinnegad is third largest town in Westmeath and the Minister needs to ensure that there are adequate garda resources.  Our local gardaí are performing extremely well under very difficult circumstances and they need greater support from government not to be left short of manpower and essential resources.”