THE people of Cork deserve better than a reduction in garda numbers and garda vehicles, a Fianna Fáil TD has said.
Cork South Central TD Michael McGrath was reacting to figures showing that Cork city and county has lost 20 garda vehicles this year.
The figures were provided to Deputy McGrath by the Minister for Justice, Charlie Flanagan, on foot of a parliamentary question from the Cork South Central TD.
According to figures from the Department of Justice, Cork city had 121 garda vehicles at the end of last month. That compared with 131 vehicles in the city in February. Sixteen vehicles had been allocated to Cork city earlier this year but were re-allocated to areas of Dublin where hired vehicles were being used by gardaí because of a lack of garda vehicles in the capital.
The number of garda vehicles in Cork North division has fallen from 57 last December to 50 at the end of August, while there are currently 58 garda vehicles in Cork west, compared with 61 in December.
A breakdown of vehicles in Cork city shows there is just one 4x4 in Cork city now, compared with three in February. The city has also lost five garda cars. In Cork North, four garda cars have been lost, along with two in Cork West.
Deputy McGrath said: “The reduction in the number of Garda vehicles in Cork is further evidence that Cork City and County is not getting its fair share of Garda resources.
“If we are not providing the Gardaí with the equipment they need, they are trying to tackle crime with one hand tied behind their back.
“The reality is that the Cork City division has received less than 3% of all newly qualified gardaí since 2014 and now we discover that the Garda fleet is being diminished as well. The people of Cork deserve better from government.”
Earlier this year, The Echo revealed that ten recruits due to be allocated to Cork were re-allocated to Dublin and Drogheda because of gangland crime.
The recruits had been due to take up posts in community policing. However, garda management in Cork now has to wait for an allocation from future graduates from the Garda College in Templemore.