THERE have been 15 garda recruits across four âhuge' divisions in three years, according to Fianna FÃ¡il TD Margaret Murphy O'Mahony.
Details on the number of gardaÃ in each station in West Cork as of June 30th, and the number of new recruits assigned to the division since recruitment resumed in 2014, were sought by the deputy recently.
âMy sources advise me that there have been 15 recruitments to West Cork since 2014,' she said.Â
âThis hardly inspires confidence and at this rate it will be some time before garda numbers are increased to 15,000, as provided for in the confidence and supply arrangement.Â
âWest Cork has a population of over 105,000, with a wide geographical spread of over 100 miles.Â
âThere needs to be a strong garda presence in rural areas and this is not the case at the moment.'
She said rural Ireland has to deal with the fact that many garda stations have been closed, a move which completely decimated the forces of law and order in many areas. Crime and anti-social behaviour are on the increase all over West Cork, she claimed, and the absence of gardaÃ âfacilitated' this.
In response, Justice Minister Charles Flanagan said on May 31st there were 284 gardaÃ in the West Cork division.Â
âIn her own district, there are 34 in Bantry and five in Castletownbere, as well as gardaÃ in Drimoleague, Durrus, Glengarriff, Kealkil and Schull,' he said. âIn the Clonakilty division there are a total of 60 gardaÃ.'
âThe Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country, including in West Cork, in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and to the constituents of Deputy Murphy O'Mahony and deter crime,' the Minister continued.
Â âIn 2017, funding has been provided for the recruitment of 800 Garda recruits and up to 500 civilians to support the wide-ranging reform plan in train in An Garda SÃochÃ¡na.Â
âI am keen that the organisation continues to rebuild and that the Government continues to provide the Commissioner with the resources she needs to allow her to deploy increasing numbers of gardaÃ across every Garda division, including West Cork,' the Minister added.