A CORK TD has slammed the lack of garda presence in one of the county’s largest satellite towns in the wake of a recent assault and burglaries.
Speaking in the Dáil, Cork South Central TD Michael McGrath criticised the limited opening hours at Carrigaline and Douglas garda stations, with people who call to have forms signed having to do so on multiple occasions before they can meet a garda there.
He said there has been a recent spate of burglaries in the area, as well as thefts from cars, and a serious assault on the town’s Main Street last week where a man was left with serious injuries.
Deputy McGrath said: “Many people have since been in touch to express real concern about the lack of a garda presence in the area.”
He added: “The issue of resources is key. Let us consider Carrigaline as an example. There are five units with two members each.
“There are three detective gardaí and three sergeants. On any given weekend night one unit of two gardaí may be serving the town.
“The reality is that they could be called away at any point. Frequently they are called away to another part of the Garda district to deal with an incident.
“We could as a result actually have no Garda presence within the town. We absolutely need longer station opening hours and more gardaí.
“People should not have to call to a Garda station on multiple occasions to have a form signed, yet that is the practice in my area which is rapidly expanding and experiencing high population growth. “
Chief Superintendent Barry McPolin said there has been a re-deployment of gardaí to the Togher district, including Douglas and Carrigaline, in the past 12 to 18 months.
And he said that Carrigaline, Douglas and Bishopstown garda stations have been able to open for longer now as a result.
He continued: “Because of retirements and promotions, there is an ebb and flow to numbers. 15 probationer gardaí were allocated to the Togher district over the last 18 months.”
But he said he has to balance the needs of each district in the city division for gardaí.