Garda Covid hotline in Donegal expected to be wound up shortly

Garda Covid hotline in Donegal expected to be wound up shortly

Stephen Maguire

The controversial phoneline at Letterkenny Garda station to report breaches of Covid-19 restrictions, set up almost two weeks ago when incidence rates of the virus spiked locally, is now likely to be wound up once again.

In the first week of the service, a total of 67 calls were received, however, 41 (60 per cent) of these calls found no breaches of regulations when investigated by Gardaí.

Enquiries are ongoing into a further 21 of these calls, while two hoax calls were also received.

A meeting of the Joint Policing Committee in the county heard how the phoneline may be ended soon, with local TD, Thomas Pringle referring to the service as a "ratline" in the Dáil.

Garda representative, Superintendent Goretti Sheridan admitted the hotlines' days appear to be numbered: "The Covid line for the county is a temporary measure, and it is being looked at by Chief Superintendent (Terry) McGinn.

"It's not going to be a long term plan. I would imagine that it shouldn't be up and running too much longer. I know our numbers are coming down, but they are certainly not as down as much they could be," she added.

Supt Sheridan's views were echoed by Donegal County Council's chief executive officer, John McLaughlin.

"I think it's positive to revaluate the need for that number and I think that's the right thing to do," Mr McLaughlin said.

"The feedback from the group here is that now it's time that it's no longer needed and that will be picked up here," he added.

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