Protecting county's rural areas a top priority - chief
Cllr Ger Carthy called for a new operation entitled 'Protecting Rural Wexford' to be initiated at the meeting with Assistant Commissioner Jack Nolan, who heads up Organisational Development and Strategic Planning and the Assistant Commissioner for the South Eastern Garda Region.
Cllr Barbara Anne Murphy expressed concern that metal is being stolen in the Bunclody area and sold on. She also expressed concern that too many guards are stuck on desk duty.
Mr Nolan said Gardaí are focussed on preventing rural crime where possible.
'We run operations designed to do exactly what you say. Criminals are coming in through Thomastown and Bunclody. We want to make the area as inhospitable as possible so if you are coming down here to steal you know you will be stopped. We have checkpoints and we use the courts to impose curfews.'
He said metal and cable theft is a big issue. 'I have a meeting with ESB networks about why alarms are not going off earlier.'
Cllr Fergie Kehoe said morale among Garda in the county is very low.
'It's a lot to do with bureaucracy,' he said, before asking when the county will be on a par with other counties in terms of Garda numbers per head of population.
Mr Nolan denied that morale is at 'rock bottom' in the force in Co Wexford.
'There are growing demands and there are less of us so more has to be done.'
He said most Gardaí do patrol the streets, adding that he is in favour of lay people carrying out administrative roles for the force.
He said although Co Wexford is ranked third lowest in the country in terms of police cover, it is just below the average in terms of other counties in the South East.