Garda boundary changes could leave Longford and Granard without superintendents

Liam Cosgrove

Reporter:

Liam Cosgrove

Email:

liam.cosgrove@longfordleader.ie

Longford and Granard Garda Stations are likely to be left without full time superintendents over the passage of time as a result of planned changes to policing divisions.

That was the veiled warning delivered by Garda Representative Association representative and Co Longford based Garda Dave Conroy.

“I can see it happening with an inspector being put in each station,” he said, after Garda Commissioner Drew Harris announced a series of radical changes to the way the force operates.

Under the proposals, 1,500 additional members are being recruited, while 1,000 existing officers are to be reassigned to frontline duties.

The reforms will also see the number of Garda divisions being reduced from 28 to 19 with the number of regions being downsized from six to four.

However, Mr Conroy said the planned rollout of 1,800 additional frontline gardaí nationwide will have little or no effect locally.

“That won’t happen in this division,” was his reply about the likely increase in garda numbers in Longford and across it’s newly reconfigured division alongside counties Roscommon and Mayo.

“What this (plan) will do is take away from the policing of communities on a daily and even hourly basis and leave a policing void,” he said.

“At the end of the day it is communities that drive policing not the other way around.

“Without communities being with you and behind you, you are nothing.”

There were similarly cautionary sentiments from the Chairperson of  Longford County Council’s Joint Policing Committee (JPC) Cllr Seamus Butler.

The Fianna Fáíl politician said it was imperative garda bosses are given sufficient and adequate resources if planned changes to local policing divisions are to make any impact in counties like Longford.

“The real test will be if they (Garda chiefs) are given the resources,” he said, adding such calls for more foot and night patrols in Longford remained a constant topic for conversation at local JPC meetings.

Cllr Butler did nonetheless acknowledge Commissioner Harris’ vow to visit the various regional boundaries over the coming months to see how the new changes take effect.