Elected representatives who have highlighted a glaring lack of Garda resources in Clonmel have been given two very different versions of manpower figures that apply to Clonmel District. A Parliamentary Question tabled by Independent TD Mattie McGrath and a motion tabled at a Clonmel Borough Council meeting have resulted in the provision of manpower figures that differ significantly. The information supplied in the Dail was provided by the Minister Shatter’s Department and the information provided at Clonmel Borough Council was supplied by the same Department which stated that the information was given to them by the Garda authorities. There is a huge difference between 47 garda and 69 concerning garda personnel strength for a town the size of Clonmel. Minister Shatter should come out immediately and clarify exactly what is the strength of Garda numbers in Clonmel District. There did appear to be some obvious inaccuracies in the information supplied to Clonmel Borough Council in that the members were informed that the Clonmel District had one Chief Superintendent when that was not the case.
Public representatives believe that the personnel stationed in Clonmel is insufficient and pressure on Minister Shatter will continue to mount. Morale in the Garda Siochanna is at an all time low. In Clonmel detectives have been unable to access a car to conduct their business over the last few months because vehicles which were taken off the road because of the mileage recorded have not been replaced. It is an accepted fact that Clonmel Garda Station is unfit for purpose and when you factor in an obvious shortage of manpower into the mix it is regrettable that Minister Shatter’s Department fails to recognise how difficult the situation is in Clonmel. Councillors expressed shock at the meeting at the correspondence received from Minister Shatter’s department as they believe it does not accurately reflect the situation on the ground. Minister Shatter should be asked to explain how such information was provided to the Borough Council. The information Minister Shatter supplied in the Dail revealed that Clonmel District had one guard for every 225 people compared to Thurles which had one guard for every 227 people. Those figures represent an unacceptable situation, one that Minister Shatter should urgently address unless the people relying on Clonmel District for a service come to the conclusion that this government looks upon them as second class citizens.