Fears for future of drugs unit

Doubts over the scale of Garda cutbacks is likely to lead to restricted opening hours at a number of stations across Longford alongside large scale changes to the region’s divisional drugs unit.

Doubts over the scale of Garda cutbacks is likely to lead to restricted opening hours at a number of stations across Longford alongside large scale changes to the region’s divisional drugs unit.

One of the districts believed to be at the centre of the Government’s ongoing review is Granard, with fears that opening hours could be scaled back.

Part of the unease is believed to centre on plans to implement a new roster system, raising fears some rural stations could be adversely affected.

“That (roster system) is coming in,” said a source. “There is talk about a fifth unit but we don’t have the personnel for that. That could mean cutbacks in outside stations to make up that unit.”

In Granard, five officers have either retired from active duty or left the force over the past 12 months. Equally, the north Longford town has also lost its sole detective, a position which has remained unfilled since last November.

Another rural station believed to be under renewed scrutiny is Ardagh as operating hours at the station could also be cut in the wake of impending retirements.

In a further blow, concerns have also surfaced over the long term future of the region’s divisional drugs force.

“The drugs unit is going to be cut that it will be almost non existent,” confided another source earlier this week.

To read this story in full, see this week’s Longford Leader.