Garda amalgamation proposal slammed

Eoghan Dalton

The outgoing chairman of Waterford’s Joint Policing Committee has slammed proposals to amalgamate the Waterford Garda division with the Carlow and Kilkenny division.The proposed changes are part of a major nationwide shakeup and also include the possibility of Kilkenny becoming the headquarters of the new division.It may also see Waterford be the only major city in the country without its own division. The proposed model would see the number of divisions cut from 28 to 19.Cllr Eddie Mulligan (FF) said, “it is completely unacceptable that Waterford City is yet again being treated differently to Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick”.

He added that it is now “vital” that Waterford’s current police operations profile is “not diminished in any way by a reduction and or dilution of current resources and infrastructure”.“Obviously the planning of the District Amalgamation has taken no account of the future infrastructural planning of Ireland into account, such as that contained within the Ireland 2040 National Planning Framework,” Cllr Mulligan said.“The six Dublin Garda Divisions will remain unchanged, as will the Cork City, Galway and Limerick City Divisions which is unexplainable and contrary to the National Planning Framework aspirations for population growth in Waterford City 50% to 2040.”

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The loss of the current Chief Superintendent from Waterford is also feared.“Kilkenny hasn’t the facilities for a Divisional HQ and would need a green field site build whilst Waterford City already has the infrastructure and the facilities in place to house the Divisional HQ,” he continued.

The Councillor has wrote to Fianna Fáil’s spokesperson on Justice & Equality, Jim Callaghan TD, asking him to confirm with the Minister for Justice, formal confirmation of the intended Garda Divisions that are being amalgamated and immediate clarification from Government and the Garda authorities as to their intentions on the future of the Waterford divisional HQ.“The current amalgamation of divisions must also have no negative impact on Garda numbers and services in Waterford,” he said.

Cllr Mulligan concluded: “Our Government politicians must prevent any erosion of Garda service levels within the county and accordingly I call for immediate clarity from the Garda Authorities and Government as to their intentions on this matter and the future of the Waterford Garda Division.”Deputy David Cullinane (SF) said the loss of a standalone Waterford division would be “an absolute disaster again for the status of the city”.“It’s worse when the proposals include two divisions for Cork – one in the city and one in the county, a division for Limerick City and County, a division for Galway City and County and a number of divisions in Dublin.”

He added: “Within [the Waterford] division, we have three districts which include West Waterford, Tramore and Waterford and they have their own Superintendents.“It’s also proposed that that’s done away with so you won’t have geographically based Superintendents.”

Drink driving convictions

Meanwhile, new figures from the Courts Service show that Waterford has the lowest rate of court convictions for drink driving, where just 44 per cent of prosecutions were successful.Overall one out of every three drivers prosecuted ends up avoiding a conviction.The county in Ireland with the highest rate of court convictions for drink driving is Co Kildare where 85% of motorists before the courts were successfully prosecuted.The Road Safety Authority has called on the Department of Justice, the Courts Service and An Garda Síochána to carry out the necessary research into the reasons for such differences.The figures cover 2017, 2018 and the first five months of 2019.

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