Staffing levels at Castlerea Garda Station have been condemned as “dangerously insufficient for both Gardaí and members of the public” as serious concerns are expressed over the numbers of Gardaí serving the station.
A member of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) executive in counties Roscommon and Longford told the Roscommon Herald there were now “serious concerns” over the number of regular Garda officers serving Castlerea Station.
“The Castlerea Garda Division covers a geographical area the size of County Longford. We [the GRA] are calling for an immediate deployment of extra Gardaí for the Castlerea Station. The numbers of Garda on regular policing duties at the station aren’t enough,” said Garda Tom Kennedy.
The GRA call has been backed by Fianna Fáil’s Cllr Paschal Fitzmaurice who is calling on the Government and An Garda Síochána to increase the number of Gardaí in the Castlerea station “where numbers are at an all time low”.
He noted that the numbers available to the district of Castlerea were far lower than the Roscommon District. “This is totally unacceptable and must be explained and rectified,” he said.
He welcomed the news this week that Castlerea station would get five new recruits on December 22nd. However, he insisted that these recruits needed the back up of experienced officers.
“Castlerea needs an additional ten Gardaí to give the District an equal footing with the Roscommon District. It is important to point out the Gardaí available in Castlerea are doing a fine job and people should not feel afraid to ring the Gardaí regarding any suspicious activity,” he said.
Meanwhile, Garda Kennedy insisted that there was “a health and safety issue for Gardaí in Castlerea in that we don’t have ample resources”.
“I don’t think the public is aware of the issue. I can’t state the number of Gardaí operating from the Station, but if people knew, there’d be a furore.
“There are 18 members attached to Boyle Garda Station on regular duties, yet the station isn’t open for 24 hours. We don’t even have half that in Castlerea Station,” the Garda said, adding the issue was of particular concern affecting numbers in Castlerea station.
He went on to say that the local superintendent was at his wits’ end trying to get Gardaí to come to Castlerea — “we are singing from the same hymn sheet,” Garda Kennedystressed.
Garda Kennedy said he intends to raise the issue at the next national executive meeting of the GRA this month, adding: “I hope the [GRA] officer board will take the issue to the Garda commissioner. If necessary, we will also raise the issue with the [Justice] Minister, Charlie Flanagan.”