CLARE’S Garda Division cannot afford to lose any more gardaí, as resources are “stretched”, following a 13% decrease in personnel over the last six years.
That’s the view expressed by the division head, Chief Superintendent John Kerin, at this week’s Joint Policing Committee meeting in Ennis.
The Garda chief said four upcoming retirements and five promotions would pose further challenges. He said he is “seriously concerned” by the reduction of 44 gardaí in the Clare Garda Division, which has occurred over the last six years.
There are now 294 gardaí in the division, compared to the 338 gardaí who were stationed in County Clare back in 2010.
Since 2010, the number of superintendents has fallen from four down to two, while the number of sergeants in the division has been reduced from 42 down to 38.
Chief Superintendent Kerin said rural counties, such as Clare, are “suffering”. He added, “I hope the situation doesn’t deteriorate any further. It’s difficult to provide a service with a reduction in numbers.”
Chief Superintendent Kerin said it is important that the Clare Garda Divison can replace the departing gardaí.
“By next September, I’m going to lose 10 people that I know of; there could possibly be a couple of more going. I haven’t been told yet if there’ll be any replacements for them. I just feel we’re stretched as it is and I can’t afford any more people to go without being replaced.”
Another batch of garda recruits are due to graduate from Templemore in June and Chief Superintendent Kerin said he is “hopeful” but not confident that additional gardaí will be sent to Clare.
Cathaoirleach James Breen suggested that a letter should be sent to the Minister for Justice, requesting further gardaí for the Clare Garda Division. This was proposed by Councillor Gerry Flynn and seconded by Councillor Alan O’Callaghan.