A GARDA in a Cork village near the city with more than 3,000 residents in more than 800 houses is without a squad car, sparking concerns over crime prevention in the area.
The serving garda in Carrignavar, 11km north of Cork city, had the car taken off the road last month after it reached 280,000km, sparking concerns about control of crime in the catchment area around the village.
Garda vehicles are normally scrapped after they have exceeded 300,000km or are more than 10 years of age.
The Echo reported in March that more than one-tenth of garda vehicles in Cork city are more than 10 years old.
The car in question is understood to have been in need of repair but it was deemed not financially viable to return the marked car to the road for an extra 20,000km before it would be at its ‘end of life’.
Carrignavar is under the control of Gurranabraher Garda Station and the local guard is now reliant on a squad car from there to transport him to work. Once at the station, he has no transport.
Garda Padraig Harrington of the Garda Representative Association in Cork told The Echo he has spoken with the office of the Assistant Commissioner of the Southern Region and has been assured a new car will be assigned to the station in September when a new round of fleeting funding is due.
He added the Carrignavar area is covered by Blarney-based gardaí but the garda at Carrignavar is not able to travel around and this will remain the case until September at least.
However, Tom Howard, chair of the Carrignavar community council, said locals are upset that their local garda service is effectively grounded.
“How is the garda expected to travel around? That’s the main concern of locals. It’s a rural area and the area is quite big. It’s about 15-16 miles in length.
“Locals are concerned that we are coming into the wintertime and we want to maintain our service as we had it.
“The local garda has been doing a great job but if they have no transport, it’s difficult to patrol the area. We’re not sure when the car will be replaced.
“We want our local guard to have proper transport,” he added.
It is understood shortages have arisen in replacement cars after 16 cars were redirected to the Dublin Metropolitan Region West where it had been reported that members of the gardaí had been hiring out rental cars to carry out duties.
City councillor Ken O’Flynn said the lack of a car in Carrignavar is extremely worrying.
“There should be no shortcomings in protecting citizens. This is something that is necessary and not something that should be put on the long finger. This is not a photocopier that has broken down. It’s seriously affecting somebody doing their duty.
“I would worry that the garda station would be left empty. I have been told that the garda at Carrignavar may be able to borrow a car from another station when there is one available but this is just not acceptable. There is a garda trying to carry out their job to its fullest capability and they cannot do it.
“Carrignavar is a very active village and it serves Glenville, Burnfort and a lot of other places. It takes in a considerable amount of mid to north Cork in its catchment,” Mr O’Flynn added.
As of July, the garda fleet in Cork had 127 vehicles, including 86 cars, 21 vans, eight motorbikes, three 4x4s and nine other vehicles.
The garda press office did not respond to questions regarding the situation in Carrignavar.