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Thursday, 6th June 2024

Garda numbers in Drogheda too low says Councillor Pio Smith

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Labour Councillor Pio Smith.

Labour Councillor Pio Smith says that many people he has met recently say they want a permanent Garda presence in the town centre and their perception is that during the day or night the town centre is an unsafe place to visit.

“I think the perception that the town centre is unsafe is not entirely true however we have had some serious incidents of ASB in the town recently” Smith said.

“The problem is that we have too few guards stationed in Drogheda. For example in 2022 we had 16 community guards in Drogheda, today we have nine. In 2017/18 when the drug feud took off we had 6 community guards. Everyone agreed that the decimation of the community policing unit in Drogheda was a factor in the development of the feud.

“Now we are at similar numbers and government believe that everything will be fine. The government is playing with fire.

“In 2022 Drogheda had a total Garda compliment of 138, today that number is reduced to 127. This despite the fact that the town’s population is growing rapidly.

“We have the same number of guards as we had at the height of the feud in 2018. This is mad stuff and government is turning a blind eye to the problem.

“If we want to bring life to the town centre and attract people back to the area in large numbers then it is imperative that Garda numbers in Drogheda are significantly increased, and rapidly.”

Meanwhile Justice Minister Helen McEntee has said, in response to a Parliamentary question from Deputy Ged Nash, that the Government remains committed to improving safety and wellbeing for the community in Drogheda.

“Since the establishment of the Drogheda Implementation Board, the willingness and commitment of all stakeholders to working together has achieved, what I believe will be, lasting progress for Drogheda” Minister McEntee said. 

“An Garda Síochána have continued to show immense dedication and diligence in tackling the criminal elements within the town and the surrounding areas, and to working with the community. 

“As the Deputy is aware, Community policing is at the heart of An Garda Síochána, and all Gardaí have a role to play in community policing in the course of carrying out their duties. Community policing is also fundamental to the new Garda Operating Model which is currently being rolled out across the country and is fully commenced in thirteen Garda divisions.” 

“The new model will provide more front-line Gardaí, increased Garda visibility, and a wider range of policing services for people in their local area. It will divide service delivery within the division into four functional areas, one of the most important areas being Community Engagement. This will allow for a greater, more consistent focus on community policing in all divisions.”

 

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