Deputy Pat the Cope Gallagher has expressed his concerns at the possible threat to the Donegal Garda Division of an amalgamation with another Garda Division with a re-examination of all Divisions is currently underway.
Deputy Gallagher said it seems that a new policy of amalgamating a number of Garda Divisions is being actively considered at present.
Plans for amalgamating Garda Divisions are being mooted for Meath and West Meath at present with other areas also being looked.
The Donegal Deputy said that should any amalgamation be considered for Donegal, it almost certainly will lead to a decrease in service and a further Garda numbers decline.
He said “At present Garda numbers within the Donegal Division are reduced by 21% from peak Garda numbers in 2010 when 466 Gardaí were stationed in the County, I have on numerous occasions raised the matter of reduced Garda numbers with the Department and Minister. At present just over 100 less Gardaí currently serve within the Donegal Division stated Pat the Cope.
“Any national plans or Government Policy to amalgamate Garda Divisions must not include Donegal, precedent exists whereby Co Donegal stand alone in the context of past Government amalgamations, in that instance of the amalgamations of Educational Training Boards (ETB) County Donegal stood alone and was not amalgamated with any other county.”
He said he is now calling on the powers that be, to immediately reaffirm that no plans are being considered for the amalgamation of the Donegal Division.
And he added “I am also calling on the restoration of Garda numbers for Co Donegal and that the full complement of Gardaí which in 2009 was 466 officers, as opposed to 397 at the end of 2018.
“We also have a serious matter of under resourcing of Gardaí within the county; we are working on a skeleton number of Garda cars, reduced man hours for important community duties, notwithstanding the growing menace of Drugs within our communities stated Pat the Cope.
Amalgamations more often than not lead to a decrease in service levels, less availability of the service in question and the further removal from rural communities of services which in urban areas are taken for granted, he suggested.
“We cannot permit the further erosion of Garda service levels within the county, it is on a steady decline since 2010, and should an amalgamation be considered then we could experience very serious consequences for rural security and Garda service in our county Division.
“It is for those reasons that we must get immediate clarity from the Garda Authorities and Government as to their intentions on this matter and the future of the Donegal Garda Division,” he said.