GARDAÍ are aiming to beef up numbers to provide 24-hour coverage across Mountmellick, Portarlington and Clonaslee.
That was the aim of Chief Superintendent John Scanlan when he addressed the recent Joint Policing Committee (JPC) meeting in Portlaoise.
Debate on the matter began when Mountmellick-based councillor Paddy Bracken said: “We’ve been looking for an extra garda in Mountmellick for years; not an extra guard, but a replacement guard. We were promised that when the new recruits had done their training in Portlaoise, that we would get a replacement garda. It should be remembered that Mountmellick Garda Station covers a huge area all across into Clonaslee and down into Killeigh. At one stage we had two gardaí and one sergeant in Clonaslee, now we only have one garda there.”
Replying, the chief super said: “Mountmellick has currently one sergeant and three guards and there’s one in Clonaslee. Our mission is to put two more guards into Mountmellick in the short-term and in the mid-term to add one more garda to Clonaslee. Our ambition is that we will not have one-man stations anywhere in the division in two years’ time.
“The knock-on effect of extra guards being put into Portarlington is less withdrawals of guards from Mountmellick and hopefully have a profile of 24-hour coverage between Mountmellick and Portarlington.
“The ambition is one sergeant and five guards in Mountmellick and two more in Clonaslee. They in turn will be complimented by guards in Portarlington. We are getting to the point, unfortunately, where we’ll have more guards than we ever had in Portarlington because of significant developments in housing and groups there that we have to have an interest in.”
Cllr James Kelly asked when would the new garda recruits that were allocated to Portlaoise Garda Station last year be redeployed to rural towns and villages around the county.
The chief superintendent said that those recruits are nearing the end of their training and “in the next six months we will probably redeploying six to ten guards out of Portlaoise. They will be replaced with new recruits coming in.”