OFFALY’S Garda force has been depleted with ten retirements in the last fifteen months as a result of the Government’s failure to replace retired Gardaí under its recruitment embargo.
A Garda spokesperson confirmed that the local force has seen six Gardaí and four sergeants retire and they haven’t been replaced.
It’s also expected that the force will lose patrol cars that will not be replaced in the coming months.
In neighbouring Laois, voids in its top ranking officers is also having an impact on the Offaly division with a Superintendent drafted in to prosecute cases at Portlaoise District Court recently.
Deputy Sean Fleming said the vacancies in Laois had been well flagged. “It is not good enough that a superintendent from a neighbouring division is in his spare time trying to cover the division. The position needs to be filled.”
Meanwhile, a call for the lifting of the embargo on the recruitment of Gardaí has been made by an Edenderry Town councillor.
Cllr Declan Leddin has written to the Tanaiste, Eamon Gilmore, pointing out that the numbers of Gardaí have dropped from a high of over 14,000 in 2010 to 13,500 at the end of February.
He claims that the lack of a Garda presence in some rural villages has left many people feeling afraid in their own homes.
Cllr Leddin said that he is aware of the financial situation facing the Department of Justice and Equality but pointed out that it takes two years to train Gardaí at Temploremore along with another year for the recruitment process.
Cllr Leddin called for the training college to be fully opened to ensure a full strength Garda force.
He concluded, “The public need to have confidence in the Gardaí and a consistent and available service needs to be in place to allow citizens to feel secure on our streets in our homes.”