Sinn Féin Louth TD Gerry Adams commenting on the revelation that Garda Tony Golden had provided the Cooley Peninsula Community Alert Group with a handwritten note outlining concerns over Garda numbers in the district as ”deeply disturbing.” And he has called on the Minister for Justice to ensure that the additional Garda numbers deployed in Louth are made permanent.
Gerry Adams said:
“Garda Tony Golden was a widely respected community Garda who worked closely with the community in the Cooley Peninsula. His report to them, prior to their meeting with the then Minister of Justice Alan Shatter, reflects widespread concerns in the area about cutbacks to Garda numbers and resources.
Parliamentary responses I received from the Minister for Justice during the summer confirm Garda Golden’s concerns. The PQ responses show that there has been a gradual decrease in available Garda numbers from 314 in the Louth Garda Division in 2010 to 277 on April 30 2015. This is a substantial drop of 37 Garda in the last five years.
The number of Community Gardaí has also dropped from 22 in 2010 to 16 for this year. This figure has remained unchanged in the last three years despite the increase in burglary and theft related offences.
The issue of Garda numbers and available resources is crucial to communities across the state but especially in the border region. There is an onus on the government to enhance the all-island policing arrangements and structures.
There is also a concern that the two existing joint task forces – the Cross-border Fuel Fraud Enforcement Group and the Cross-border Tobacco Enforcement Group – are not being effective. A review of the work of both needs to be undertaken and additional officers and resources should be provided where appropriate.
I welcome the decision by the Garda Commissioner to deploy 25 additional Gardaí to county Louth and the establishment of an intelligence unit for the area. But these additional Garda are only deployed on a temporary basis. The increased numbers should be permanent.
What is also needed is greater co-operation across the border and a holistic and strategic plan for tackling organised criminal gangs exploiting the border. This should include a cross border task force involving the police services in both parts of the island and revenue services and with a dedicated all-Ireland focus.”