Councillors call for more gardaí on the streets of Cork towns and open stations

Fianna Fáil councillor Audrey Buckley made the call following a motion by her party colleague, councillor Seamus McGrath. 
Councillors call for more gardaí on the streets of Cork towns and open stations

Cork county councillors have outlined the issues in their local areas caused by a lack of a garda presence.

A CALL was made for more ‘community policing’ in south Cork, at the latest meeting of the county Joint Policing Committee.

Fianna Fáil councillor Audrey Buckley made the call following a motion by her party colleague, councillor Seamus McGrath. 

Ms Buckley said: “Crosshaven has a garda station. People think it’s closed but apparently we do have a traffic garda there, but it’s not open. I’d like to see more community policing. I’d like to see them on their bikes."

Ms Buckley said “this is our home” and “we just want to feel safe.” 

Independent Cllr Ben Dalton O’Sullivan said that in 2019, he looked to be appointed to the JPC due to the Carrigaline garda station issue of irregular opening hours.

After a recent incident, “I counted 65 points of communication between phone calls, emails, social media messages. What people are looking for are full-time, guaranteed, and permanent hours.”

Mr O’Sullivan said if the public has a passport issue, the door of Carrigaline garda station should be open. The Garda Commissioner and Minister for Justice have not responded to the JPC, “acknowledging the issue,” he said.

In 2020, there was a response saying civilians could be used for administration work in Carrigaline station.

“But I don’t think that has materialised,” said Mr O’Sullivan.

 “The community is very angry. They don’t feel it’s acceptable. Every time there’s an incident, this issue of Carrigaline garda station blows up again. People are looking for action. And then it goes away, and it’s forgotten about, until the next incident.” 

 Mr O’Sullivan said the community “want” and “need” action.

Fine Gael councillor Michael Murtagh, a member of the emergency services, said the ease of availability of drugs is part of the problem. 

“That visual deterrent of seeing a guard in your community at all times, is second to none.” 

CCTV is “no good” if gardaí are not present, he said.

Fianna Fáil councilllor Deirdre O’Brien said she recently received calls in relation to anti-social housing in estates, with cars damaged. There are not enough gardaí, she said, and by the time the gardaí arrive at reported incidents, the culprits are gone.

“Their presence is something that would stop them. There isn’t enough community policing there,” she said. People are afraid. One family was attacked over Christmas but were afraid to report it, she added. 

PEOPLE AFRAID TO PROSECUTE

“Guilty parties know they can get away from it, because people are afraid to prosecute. It’s down to people’s own safety, and their children. It’s a numbers game. There are not enough gardaí out there.” 

Fine Gael Cllr Sinéad Sheppard said it comes down to “guards on the ground” and “guards on the beat.” 

In Cobh, they need “more presence” on the streets. and Ms Sheppard added: “We have public toilets being vandalised, 12 or 13 times a year. We have people that are working on the street, saying people are threatening them.” 

Cobh is a fabulous place to live, but there is “no presence of gardaí on the street". Some people have stopped reporting incidents because there are not enough gardaí to come to an incident, said Ms Sheppard.

Cobh’s population can jump by up to 3,000 to 5,000 people in one day in the summer when ships arrive. “The situation is as bad in Cobh, and we are as in need of numbers,” Ms Sheppard said. “Cobh needs numbers just as much as Carrigaline does.”

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