By Louise McCarthy
ONE third of West Cork gardaí have been deployed to West Clare this week, to assist in the massive security operation to cover US President Donald Trump’s visit.
But a senior garda has warned local criminals not to see West Cork as a soft target, as all holiday leave has been cancelled for the remaining gardaí.
Supt Brendan Fogarty of Bandon Garda Station confirmed that gardaí from Beara to Carrigaline, and stations in between, are being deployed for five days for the visit.
Out of 360 gardaí based in West Cork, 120 have been sent to West Clare since Monday, providing extra security for the Trump visit.
A mixture of garda ranks from the division, along with up to 1,000 from all over Munster, have being sent to cover Trump’s visit, and the gardaí will be staying in hotels around Co Clare, with the majority not due to return until Saturday.
Assurances are being offered by Supt Fogarty that it is ‘business as usual in West Cork’ and criminals should not expect to get away with crime just because over 100 gardaí are now stationed in Co Clare, as ‘appropriate action has been taken’ to provide full cover for the region.
He said: ‘All leave has been cancelled for gardaí during this time.’
Pointing out that three men had been arrested in Bandon on Tuesday, following a break-in at a shop in Macroom, Supt Fogarty said the Trump visit would not impact on crime prevention in West Cork, despite the loss of resources.
But the ramifications of the deployment of gardaí to Clare were felt at Clonakilty District Court on Tuesday when a prosecuting garda was unable to attend a contested road traffic case because he was on duty to cover the President’s visit.
Gardaí sought an adjournment of the case which Judge James McNulty acceeded to. He also added, somewhat wryly: ‘This is exceptional as we have one of the greatest statesmen visiting our shores at this time. That necessitates protecting him and that necessitates the key witness not being here.’
Solicitor Pat Horan had sought a dismissal of the case but Judge McNulty said the inconvenience caused to his client was regrettable, but that the garda had been seconded to duty with others ‘elsewhere’ and adjourned the case to Skibbereen on June 11th.