Assurances have been given by the Chief Superintendent of the Tipperary garda division that the Clonmel Community Policing Unit has been reinstated.
Concerns have been raised on several occasions by members of Clonmel Borough Council, that the dedicated unit has not been able to perform its community policing role for some time, due to reduced garda numbers.
Thurles-based Chief Superintendent Catherine Kehoe has given a ‘firm commitment that personnel have been deployed to the unit’ according to Cllr Darren Ryan who met with her recently following correspondence from Clonmel Borough Council on behalf of the Joint Policing Committee (JPC).
A previous JPC meeting heard the recruitment embargo, coupled with retirements from the force locally have meant that the community gardai are required to perform other duties essential for the policing of the town generally, at a loss to the communities they were previously immersed in.
Cllr Ryan said he had a very open discussion with Chief Superintendent Kehoe who was ‘well aware of the position in Clonmel and the drop in community policing’.
Additionally Chief Superintendent Kehoe also gave an assurance that Clonmel will receive every priority in the future allocation of garda personnel.
Cllr Ryan said he understood that a number of garda personnel had been appointed to Clonmel in recent months and believes that strengthened the hand of the community policing unit.
Cllr Ryan said he has met with some community groups in Clonmel and the news has been welcomed by everyone. He is due to meet with the unit’s sergeant, Kieran O’Regan, who has been at the helm since 2008 when it was introduced to Clonmel, to find out more about the community gardai, of which there are now three, and what areas of the town they will be focusing on.
“There was a very serious and genuine concern out there that the community policing unit was lost,” said Cllr Ryan.
“It wasn’t their fault, or local garda management’s fault, there was simply a shortage of gardai. Policing is not about fighting crime all the time, it’s about breaking down barriers, getting out and about and meeting people in communities,” said Cllr Ryan. He commended Superintendent John Courtney’s continued support for the community policing unit, and paid tribute to gardai Andy Neill and Derek McEvoy who were members of the original unit but who are no longer stationed in Clonmel.