Minister’s Dáil reply says 14 stations closed in Division since 2010
By Siobhan Cronin
& Kieran O’Mahony
THE number of garda stations open in West Cork has fallen from 43 stations in 2010, to 29 stations in 2016, while the number of gardai in the division has fallen from 318 to 277 in the same six years.
The figures were revealed by the Minister for Justice in response to a Dail query by Aindrias Moynihan TD recently.
Deputy Moynihan (FF) also asked what proportion of the proposed 800 additional recruits in 2017 would be assigned to the Cork West division. He was told five additional gardai would be assigned.
This week, however, the Minister for Justice has filled a number of senior garda vacancies. Cork South West FG TD Jim Daly has welcomed the appointment of the current Chief Supt of Anglesea St in Cork – Mick Finn – to the role of Assistant Commissioner. Chief Supt Finn is a former Chief Supt in Bandon.
‘I very much welcome confirmation that the cabinet has belatedly sanctioned the approval of the filling of 11 senior vanancies within An Garda Siochana and would particularly like to wish the new Assistant Commissioner Mick Finn every success in his new and challenging role,’ added Deputy Daly.
Deputy Daly recently told a FG parliamentary party meeting that the ongoing delay filling garda vacancies wasn’t acceptable while ‘the Commissioner was being thrown across the floor of the Dail Chanmber like a rag doll by some politicians’. It is believed that the vacant role of Chief Supt of Cork West division will be filled shortly.
Under the Government’s Capital Plan (2016-2021) €205m in additional funding for Garda ICT and €46m for new Garda vehicles has been allocated over the lifetime of the plan. ‘This investment will facilitate the provision of more effective policing services and I expect that the West Cork Division, like all other Garda Divisions, will benefit from these new resources becoming available,’ said the Minister recently.
A breakdown of the number of Garda stations and number of gardaí assigned to the Cork West Division on October 31st 2010 and September 30th 2016, the latest date for which figures are readily available, showed a drop in gardaí in two districts in West Cork, with the exception of the Macroom district, which saw an amalgamation with some stations from the former Kanturk district, and Clonakilty.
Figures for the Macroom district – which went from eight to nine garda stations – saw a rise in staff numbers from 57 to 70 in that time period. In the Clonakilty district, the figures rose from 51 to 60, as stations in Clonakilty, Dunmanway and Skibbereen got additional gardaí.
However, the Bandon district dropped from 108 to 101 and Bantry fell from 50 to 46.
There were ten garda stations in the Bantry district in 2010, but this fell to seven garda stations by 2016. The number of stations in the Bandon district fell from nine in 2010, to seven, six years later.
Acting Chief Supt of Cork West Division Con Cadogan said the fall in figures in the Cork West Division was attributed to the fact that 11 stations from the division were moved into the Cork North Division as part of a rationalisation plan in 2013.
He said that, in effect, just eight garda stations closed in West Cork and the drop in the number of gardaí in the division can be attributed to the numbers moved to Cork North. ‘We are always fighting to retain our current numbers in the division,’ said Chief Supt Cadogan.
Deputy Moynihan earlier told The Southern Star that what is of most concern is the fact that four of the 10 stations in the Macroom District are not connected to the national Pulse system for recording and monitoring crime.
‘This just isn’t good enough,’ said Deputy Moynihan.
But Chief Supt Con Cadogan said that he has looked at increasing the number of stations that can use the Pulse system. ‘In stations that do not have the Pulse system members can enter the details on their tetra radios, which double up as a phone, and they can also access the system at any station that has them, as they all hold unique passwords to use it,’ he added.