The Garda Commissioner and Minister for Justice have been called on to urgently address a series shortage of resources at Clonmel garda station.
A lack of manpower, garda vehicles and equipment at Clonmel Garda station has been highlighted by Independent TD Mattie McGrath in Dail Eireann and he has called for the matter to be corrected immediately.
Deputy McGrath said that Clonmel station was seriously understaffed, detectives and garda were left without official vehicles for long periods and also had problems accessing equipment.
He said Clonmel district had one guard for every 525 people compared to Thurles which had one guard for every 227 people in its catchment area.
“That is a almost 2.5 times the number of gardai in the Clonmel area. This is absolutely disgraceful. Clonmel should not be treated like second class citizens.It has one of the worst garda numbers in the country comparing population to garda numbers. This cannot be allowed to continue,”said Deputy McGrath.
Information given to him as a result of tabling parliamentary questions stated that the total population of the Clonmel Electoral Area which takes in Clerihan, Lisronagh, Kilsheelan is 24,692.
The only Garda stations in the area are Clonmel and Kilsheelan. The town of Clonmel alone has a population is 17,908. There are 47 Gardai in the Clonmel District The total population of the Thurles Electoral Area is 17,017.
The garda stations in the area are Thurles, Littleton and Holy Cross.
The town of Thurles alone has a population of 7,933 There are 75 Gardai in the Thurles District.
Deputy McGrath said that Superintendant John Courtney was doing a tremendous job given the shortage of manpower that he was faced with every day.
“Leaving Clonmel so low in the number of gardai on the ground is just not acceptable. It is not fair on the garda in Clonmel who have to cope and it is not fair on the public who deserve to be allocated the resources required,” said Deputy McGrath.
Deputy McGrath said that the shortage of resources combined with the condition of the building that the garda were expected to operate from made things very difficult.
“We have known for a long number of years that the station in Clonmel is just not fit for purpose. When you factor in then the low garda numbers and the difficulties they have in accessing vehicles and other vital equipment needed to carry out their job then it is obvious that something needs to be done and it has to happen very quickly,” said Deputy McGrath.
Deputy McGrath said that garda cars are taken off the road when they have such an amount of mileage on the clock and because of this Clonmel was left short of vehicles.
“For long periods detectives are left without a car to conduct their business. They have to try and get one from other areas.This is just ridiculous and it is wrong that this situation is allowed continue,” he said.
Deputy McGrath said he had requested Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan and Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to respond and to approve of the allocation of badly needed resources to Clonmel immediately. He said pressure had to be maintained until the matter was resolved.
“Clonmel and the community is at a serious disadvantage without having the necessary garda numbers based in the town. How long can a town the size of Clonmel be allowed to do without such resources.It has gone on now for far too many years and garda serving in Clonmel and the people living in the community deserved to have this sorted once and for all,” said Deputy McGrath.