15 new Gardaí for county - with more to arrive in 2016
CHIEF Superintendent John Roche announced at the Joint Policing Committee meeting at County Hall that the county's police force is being boosted by at least 15 new guards this year, with more arrivals expected in 2016.
Supt Roche was responding to a question raised by Cllr Fergie Kehoe about the lack of manpower in the force in County Wexford.
Cllr Kehoe said: '100 new guards have come out of Templemore and Wexford is only getting five. That's very, very little for an area the size of Wexford and considering the number of retirements there have been.'
He asked if Supt Roche expects more Gardaí to be deployed to the county which has been experiencing a spike in burglaries in recent times.
Cllr Joe Sullivan expressed concern about the lack of Gardaí in the drugs unit.
'Since the last JPC meeting there have been three or four deaths as a result of drugs in this Garda division. Are there any plans to upgrade the drugs unit which has been downgraded from 11 officers to one.'
Cllr Ger Carthy asked if additional officers are going to be assigned to the county's depleted traffic corps.
Supt Roche said there are 300 students training in Templemore.
'Two months ago 100 qualified and I received five. No division got more than five. Next week another 100 will graduate and I am getting the maximum number of five again and in October another group of 100 is graduating and I am hoping to get five. The case is on the table.'
He said the number of Gardaí in the county is down by 46 from peak times during the Celtic Tiger.
'It will take a while (to get the numbers back to near where they were). There are ongoing retirements. I've three or four this year which I hadn't anticipated. Guards are retiring earlier once they have their 30 years done. They're retiring aged 51 or 52 now.'
He said tackling drugs is a major priority.
'We have had tragic deaths and tackling this is a priority for us. Our drug detections are up 100 per cent. I have guards who are constantly detecting and preventing drugs offences. We had 34 possession for sale or supply arrests this year which is double what we had last year. We can't solve this on our own. The HSE and community organisations have to be involved also.'
Cllr Carthy said following the tragic deaths of two young women on the Rosslare Road, there is a clear need to increase the traffic corps.
Supt Roche said: 'Every Garda leaving the station is out there to enforce the law. Sadly our fatalities are up this year and these were two particularly tragic cases.'
Cllr Carthy said more Garda visibility is needed in Killinick and Tagoat.