Seven out of 19 Garda stations across the county were without a permanent Garda presence claimed Waterford TD, Mary Butler (FF) last week.
Deputy Butler hit out at the Minister for Justice for allowing eight stations in the Waterford Division be staffed by non- permanent Gardaí, adding that it simply wasn’t good enough.
“When Gardaí are based permanently in a community, they gain a local knowledge that would undoubtedly help them police the communities better. It’s clear that Waterford has been ignored when it comes to the deployment of newly attested Gardaí.”
She added that there were currently only 281 Gardaí stationed across the whole of country Waterford. Six years ago, this figure was 305. “While the figures remained broadly static in Waterford City, West Waterford has seen a drop of 22 per cent, from 67 to 52, since 2010.”
Deputy Butler continued that three of the seven stations without a permanent Garda presence were located in rural West Waterford, where communities were deeply concerned by spikes in burglaries
“Operational Garda stations need full time, permanent Gardaí to help build community confidence in policing. Since the reopening of the Garda College in Templemore, over 500 new Gardaí have attested and I belief that these stations should have been given priority in terms of replacing Garda numbers.”
She concluded that the Garda Commissioner should actively look at returning Garda numbers across Waterford to the 2010 figures, and ensure that Garda stations are staffed by full time, permanent Gardaí. “ Anything else will continue to instil fear in rural Waterford communities.”