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Population increase in Beara means more gardaí

March 29th, 2022 10:10 PM

By Jackie Keogh

At Castletownbere Garda Station were, from left: Gda Dave Fenton, Gda Geraldine O’Sullivan, Gda Iris McSweeney, Inspector Kay O’Donoghue and Gda Flor O’Donoghue. Missing from the photograph is Sgt Stephen O’Sullivan, Gda Caroline Guest and Gda Damien O’Sullivan.

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GARDA resources in Castletownbere are being stepped up to reflect a population increase and extra demands on the service since lockdown ended.

Inspector Kay O’Donoghue, the acting district officer for Bantry district, confirmed that Castletownbere Garda Station is going from having one sergeant and two gardaí to having eight gardaí and a sergeant in charge.

Over the last 12 months, resources in Castletownbere were impacted due to the death of their much-loved colleague Gda Aidan Cremin in January, and the retirement of Gda Martin Hegarty in June after more than 20 years’ service.

Insp O’Donoghue, who is a native of Clonakilty and has 22 years’ service in An Garda Síochána – having previously served in Kerry, Tipperary, Cork City and Cork West – said she is enjoying her new role.

The inspector said she is particularly pleased that the Castletownbere sub district is getting additional resources, including a new civilian member of staff for desk duties later this year.

The inspector credited Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, the Assistant Commissioner Mick Finn, and Bandon-based Chief Supt Con Cadogan, with providing the additional resources.

Existing personnel includes the sergeant in charge, Stephen O’Sullivan, as well as Gda Caroline Guest, Gda Dave Fenton and Gda Iris McSweeney, but the latest recruits include Gda Geraldine O’Sullivan, Gda Damien O’Sullivan and Gda Flor O’Donoghue.

Under proposals for a new garda operating model, which has yet to be fully implemented, Bantry will come under Macroom district, with a single superintendent in charge.

Insp O’Donoghue reflected on the fact that there has been ‘a significant increase in the community population of Castletownbere due to repopulation and immigration.

‘The lifting of Covid-19 restrictions has,’ she added, ‘naturally led to a need for more community policing.’

But, as the second largest white fishing port in the country, gardaí also have a lot of fishing-related and emigration matters to which they must attend.

The inspector said the community of the Beara peninsula have always been very supportive of An Garda Síochána and she thanked the community for their continued support in the prevention and detection of crime.

In a tribute to the late Gda Cremin, Insp O’Donoghue said, ‘He was known as “the sheriff” to all who loved and worked with him. He passed away suddenly and unexpectedly and left a huge void in the community and here in the station.

‘We have continued to liaise with the community in Adrigole since he passed away,’ she added, ‘and now it is hoped that somebody can take up the mantle and continue the good work done by Gda Cremin.’

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