Councillor Eddie Moran has strongly criticised the decision to dismantle the Templemore sub district of An Garda Siochana and to merge its districts into the Nenagh and Thurles areas.
The Lowry Team Councillor expressed serious concerns that the towns of Templemore and Roscrea and the rural communities surrounding these towns will be adversely affected and will see a further reduction of Garda services as a result of these changes.
“Due to on-going rationalisation in the force by Minister Shatter, and as of November 10, Roscrea town and environs are now part of the Nenagh district whilst Templemore town and environs have moved to Thurles,” he said.
“The impact of these changes is now becoming evident in the Templemore and Roscrea areas. Templemore is losing four members of An Garda Siochana and three civilian staff, who will now be transferred to different offices. There is now only one sergeant in Templemore and no superintendent or inspector. This loss of staff is putting severe pressure on the remaining Gardaí in the area. While Roscrea are not losing any Gardaí at the moment, they are being left with only three sergeants and 16 guards to oversee the considerable population in that area,” said Cllr Moran.
He revealed that each village and community in the Templemore district is being allotted a specific Garda assigned to their parish. They are being told to ring a dedicated number at any time of the day or night if they have any issue and the liaison Garda will be available.
“This system simply will not work due to the reduction in staff from 22 to 18. No Garda will be able to be on duty 24/7 to meet the needs and calls outs that will undoubtedly arise in such a large catchment area. The question that must be answered is what support will be available if the designated Community Garda is off duty,” he said.
“Gardaí are already at their limits in Templemore and Roscrea. Our Gardaí are doing an exceptional job at present, under extremely difficult circumstances but the reality is that the drastically reduced resources are already impacting on their ability to react to crime. On Sunday, November 3, no Garda car was available for call outs in the Templemore area. This situation will only get worse as a result of these changes,” he said.
Cllr Moran claimed that what is being done to rural Ireland by the Government was ridiculous and that Tipperary and, indeed, Templemore have been particularly badly affected.
“In the last two years we have seen the closure of the courthouse, the closure of our banks and our Garda College sitting idle. It is ridiculous that the home of Garda training in now being left without adequate resources to be fully policed.
“I have serious concerns that these changes are only Phase 1 of the proposed changes and may be the thin edge of the wedge. People in the area are devastated with the diminution of services. Older people, farmers and homeowners are all living in fear given the drastic increase in burglaries,” said Cllr Moran.