Myers: ‘We’re not immune to Covid’

A Cork city garda chief has revealed that a large number of gardaí on Leeside currently have Covid-19 and are unable to work.

Speaking at a Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting on Monday, Chief Superintendent Tom Myers said the force has quite a number of gardaí out sick at the moment as a result of being “out on the front line”.

The recently appointed Chief Superintendent said An Garda Síochána is “taking a big hit at the moment” and that it is having an effect on garda numbers on the ground.

He said: “One of the biggest issues we have at the moment is that we're not immune to Covid-19 ourselves.”

In response to the Chief Superintendent’s comments, Fine Gael Senator Jerry Buttimer called on committee members to write to the HSE and ask that gardaí be prioritised for third shots and booster vaccinations.

He said: “It is disturbing to hear Tom say they are infected, and I think it's important that we take a stand in the context of support for our members of An Garda Síochána. I know we have a system in place but members of An Garda Síochána are critical to so many areas of the operation of the state.”

At the same meeting, the Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Colm Kelleher took the opportunity to commend gardaí in Cork for “policing our city through very testing times”.

However, the Lord Mayor did want to know if the city will be receiving any new recruits from the Templemore garda training college.

He said: “There are recruit classes coming out of Templemore on a regular basis and I have written to the garda commissioner in my capacity as chairman of the JPC and also as Lord Mayor in relation to Cork receiving additional gardaí in general.

“Obviously, we all want more gardaí in Cork city. I do know that, in a number of divisions around the city, there are certain issues in relation to gardai being tied up in court. Is there any indication coming from garda HQ as to any allocations we can expect in the city?”

In response, Chief Superintendent Myers said he had no information on any new recruits coming to Cork but said it is a matter that he feels very strongly about.

“I don't have any news for you at the moment in relation to that but trust me, I won't be found wanting when it comes to taking on that battle. As regards recruits coming to Cork, I'll take as many as I can get, I can assure you of that,” he said.