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Wynne questions bank holiday garda numbers

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The allocation of garda resources to a West Clare tourism hotspot during the August Bank Holiday weekend has been queried following claims of serious criminal damage and anti-social behaviour.
Deputy Violet-Anne Wynne (Ind) says she was informed by residents that there were only two gardaí on patrol in Kilkee that weekend and she didn’t get any reports that additional members were drafted in to assist those on duty who did their best to address issues in difficult circumstances.
Highlighting this issue at a recent Joint Policing Committee meeting, Deputy Wynne said it is well known that this is a problematic weekend and recalled that two years ago a garda sergeant was assaulted, and his arm broken, when there were up to 17 members on duty at the time.
Two years on from this serious incident, she said it seemed lessons have not be learned as the location of garda resources wasn’t prioritised.
In view of the huge influx of people into Kilkee on this weekend, the Independent Deputy said it is important that an adequate number of gardaí are based in the seaside town to cope with those who are engaging in anti-social behaviour.
“This is the busiest weekend for West Clare and Kilkee. This is very welcome in terms of providing a welcome tourism boost to the local economy. However, it can be a difficult weekend for the gardaí to manage the large crowds and influx of people,” she said.
“This should have been forecasted and planned for the safety of the gardaí and people in the local community. A garda presence even walking around the town would have been advantageous.”
Deputy Wynne wondered if the loss of a Garda Superintendent based in Kilrush was in some way linked to the allocation of resources for this weekend. Chief Superintendent for Clare and Tipperary, Colm O’Sullivan, said nine gardaí were on duty on that weekend between Kilrush and Kilkee.

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