Sinn Féin TD for Louth, Ruairí Ó Murchú, has raised serious concerns with the Garda Commissioner regarding his restructuring plan which will result in the Louth Division merging with Cavan Monaghan.
Speaking from the Joint Policing Committee meeting which took place in Dunleer on Friday Teachta Ó Murchú said;
“I have grave concerns regarding the proposed restructuring announced by Drew Harris in August 2019.
“Under this plan, which could be operational by the end of the year, Louth, Cavan and Monaghan would become one division and I fear this will lead to the loss of localised decision making.
“I spoke of the very specific challenges that exist in relations to the drug and organised crime gangs which operate in Dundalk and Drogheda.
“My fear is that large towns like Dundalk, could lose the necessary local planning and decision making.
“We need to ensure that a local inspector with responsibility for Dundalk is not curtailed by remote instruction from a Superintendent who has responsibility for a much wider area.
“The very specific threats and challenges faced by Gardaí in Louth require a bespoke response from members of the Gardaí on the ground in Louth on a daily basis. Towns like Dundalk simply cannot be policed remotely.
“We have seen the disregard which these gangs have both for human life and for the gardaí.
“It is obvious that any reduction in organisational capacity from Louth would be music to the drug pushers ears.
“We have seen some really good policing operations in Louth, and I commend the Gardaí involved. However inadequate resources continues to be an issue.
“While personnel has increased in Drogheda, the Garda Commissioner needs to ensure that other areas, like Dundalk, can maintain full service at all times particularly when Garda annual leave is taken into account.
“I have requested the Garda Commissioner to provide me with a breakdown of all Garda personnel in Louth; their rank and the unit to which they are assigned.
“I have also requested further information on the impact which the lack of ancillary addiction and mental health services is having on the Gardaí’s ability to police.”