Local Fianna Fáil TD Brendan Smith has described the proposed new policing structures for Cavan and Monaghan as “crazy”.
Deputy Smith said the Cavan-Monaghan Garda Division has been in operation for many, many decades and that plans to merge Cavan-Monaghan and Louth into a single Garda Division would not be adequate for the border region.
“There is a proposed reconfiguration of Garda services. Cavan-Monaghan is now being amalgamated with Louth as one Garda Division which is, in my opinion as a layperson, crazy stuff,” Deputy Smith said.
“During an era when An Garda Síochána and our State faced huge threats, the Division carried out its work in a very committed and diligent way. The structures responded to ensure that our communities were protected in the configuration that existed. Our Chief Superintendent has been based in Monaghan, in the headquarters of the Cavan-Monaghan Garda Division. That headquarters is now being transferred to Drogheda, Co. Louth.”
He added: “We have to consider what worked in the past and was successful during a very difficult era. We need local decision-making. A Chief Superintendent in Drogheda, on the outskirts of Dublin, will not be familiar enough with communities in the far end of west Cavan or the north of Monaghan.”
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in response said policing structures are ultimately “a matter for the Garda Commissioner”, but that he would ensure the Garda Commissioner and Minister for Justice are made aware of the Deputy’s view.
Deputy Smith added: “I have raised this very important issue through Parliamentary Questions in Dáil Éireann with An Taoiseach and the Minister for Justice and I believe that the new structures are not adequate and will not be sufficiently responsive to meet the policing needs of communities in areas such as Cavan/Monaghan which has a long land border with a neighbouring jurisdiction with its own unique policing demands.
“Policing should be brought as close as possible to local communities.”