CARRIGALINE needs more resources in terms of policing as gardaí are not being seen ‘on the beat’ and the garda station’s opening hours need to be improved, a recent meeting of the Cork County Joint Policing Committee heard.
Cllr Seamus McGrath (FF), brother of Finance Minister Michael, raised the motion, and while commending the local gardaí for dealing with a very serious incident in the town during Christmas, he said that the town and its surrounds are not getting adequate policing.
Recently, another stabbing of a young man took place in the town. The matter is being investigated by gardaí and a youth has appeared in court in connection with the incident.
‘Residents and constituents are contacting me expressing the concern that they are not getting an adequate level of policing in Carrigaline, and even further out, in Passage West, ‘ said Cllr McGrath.
‘It should be about visible policing on the ground and in Carrigaline we do not see sufficient gardaí on the ground or on the beat – whether that’s on bikes or in patrol cars. People don’t believe that we have an adequate number of gardaí serving the town.’
He pointed out that there are 20-plus gardaí based in the station, with a population of over 25,000 people. He said the level of policing is not sufficient for that. ‘There are also issues with the opening hours of the garda station which has been raised by me and several councillors on previous occasions too. It’s simply not accessible to the public and opening hours are very limited.’
He said that he’s now hearing that even those hours cannot be relied upon and when people call to the station during those hours they are not guaranteed to find the station open.
‘I’m also hearing that the phone is rarely answered and is never answered at night, and this is just not acceptable.’
Cllr McGrath said the gardaí serving Carrigaline are ‘stretched too far’ and they are never seen in the town at the weekends when people are socialising. He called on the Chief Supt Tom Myers to attend the next community forum meeting in Carrigaline.
‘I really hope alarms bells are ringing, following the tragic death of one man during Christmas.’
Cllr Audrey Buckley concurred with her colleague, and said as a local rep they are ‘getting it in the ear’ from constituents. She called for community policing to be put in place across the region.
‘We had an incident in Church Bay last summer when a man was hit by a bottle in the head and we rang Carrigaline Garda Station and there was no answer. We had to ring Togher,’ said Cllr Buckley.
‘Crosshaven has a garda station and people are wondering what it is used for. I want to see more gardaí on bikes and there are a lot of issues happening out there. We, as a community, want to feel safe.’
Cllr Ben Dalton O’Sullivan (Ind) said this has been a huge issue, going back as far as 2019, and he counted that he received 65 points of communications from people since the latest incident in Carrigaline who are calling for a full-time garda station.
‘That’s security in itself, to have the front door open, and I’ve bought this up at every JPC meeting since. The community are very angry,’ said Cllr O’Sullivan.
Cllr Paul Murtagh (FG) said he believes that the visual deterrent of seeing gardaí in the community is second to none.
Chief Supt Tom Myers said it all comes down to resources and that they have 22 gardaí in Carrigaline, two in Crosshaven and two in Passage West. He said he was disappointed to hear that the station hasn’t been opened on some occasions.
‘The perception in Carrigaline is that the station isn’t open a lot of times but the actual structure of the building is causing us a problem, as the front door is not visible to the front gate. Work has begun turning the front porch to make it visible to the public so they can see it is open,’ said Chief Supt Myers.
‘I also want to say also that Carrigaline also has a 24-hour policing service and when the station is closed, the Carrigaline patrol car is still out on duty. They are supported by the district office in Togher. There is also plenty of plain clothes garda work going on, as well as drug detections.’
Chief Supt Myers said he was disappointed to hear about the phone calls not being answered and he said it’s something they have to look at and he said he would accept an invitation to attend the Community Forum meeting in Carrigaline.