The announcement today that Mayo will be included with Roscommon and Longford in a new division, leaves a lot of questions about Garda numbers and resources in rural areas. We cannot allow policing to be further downgraded in Mayo, all in the name of saving money at a State level.
Today’s New Operating Plan for An Garda Síochána will see Mayo, Longford and Roscommon form a new division, which in turn will be part of a North-West Region which will stretch as far as Louth, Donegal and Galway.
I am concerned that changes to the divisional structure may see the end of divisional headquarters in Castlebar, as well as the end of a dedicated superintendent for Mayo. It is vital that there is Garda leadership infrastructure based in Mayo, able to respond to the unique concerns of policing such a large county. I will be seeking urgent clarification that this situation will not change.
The closure of so many rural Garda stations in Mayo is still having an impact on policing. To have another major change imposed with limited details on how it will affect Garda numbers on the streets and available to respond to emergencies, is bad news for Mayo. I am urging Fine Gael TDs and those TDs who claim influence over Government decisions, to make their concerns known.
Like so many other basic services, Mayo is starting out from a disadvantage and this must be factored in when any final decision is taken around this plan. Moving the deck chairs must not be a substitute for proper Garda resources in Mayo.