Cllr Seamus McGrath.

Gardaí ‘stretched too far’

The people of Carrigaline are crying out for increased garda presence following a recent fatal assault in the town.

That’s according to local Fianna Fáil Cllr Seamus McGrath who, at a recent Cork County Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting, voiced the growing concerns of his constituents surrounding garda numbers.

The issues of low garda presence and sporadic garda station opening hours in Carrigaline have been highlighted numerous times in recent years by local councillors.

Speaking at last Friday’s JPC meeting, Cllr McGrath said locals are not seeing enough garda presence on the ground. “When I inform people that we have 20 plus members of the gardaí based in the Carrigaline station, they don't believe me.”

Cllr McGrath made sure to point out that his comments were no reflection whatsoever on the individual members of An Garda Síochana, who he said are “simply stretched too far”.

“I understand gardaí have a very difficult job to do. They can't solve all of society's problems. I have to convey the feeling locally that people feel they are not getting an adequate level of policing in Carrigaline and surrounding areas,” said Cllr McGrath.

“I really hope that alarm bells are ringing by the fact that lives have been lost.”

Responding to Cllr McGrath’s concerns, Chief Superintendent Thomas Myers confirmed that the policing issues faced by Carrigaline “come down to resources”.

He also confirmed there are 22 guards assigned to Carrigaline, with 2 more in Crosshaven and a further 2 in Passage West.

Chief Superintendent Myers said: “We have quite a big population and a lot of demands on policing. I appreciate the comments and I'm not taking this as any criticism from anybody. I'm here to provide a service, that's my duty, and I want to listen to the criticisms and concerns you have.”

Last Friday’s JPC meeting came less than a week after the death of Crosshaven local Matt O'Neill, 29, who was assaulted in the town on 28 December.