THE recent murder in Portarlington “has very little to say about the town”, Chief Superintendent John Scanlon told last week’s Laois joint policing committee meeting.
“It is wrong to talk about it as an event but I want to acknowledge and thank the people who offered support and information on suspicious acts. Port is a decent place, take the levels of anti social behaviour.
“In Portarlington public order offences were down from 58 in 2008 to 40 in 2012. People need to face up to the reality and we need help. The trend is downwards of serious figures. This should not be the label we trot out about Port. The Gardaí are there and there are armed response units to deal with the dynamics of the situation”, he added.
He said that since the murder the Garda station in Portarlington has been open 24 hours. He was questioned whether the incident justified the station being open all the time.
“The justification of this vs having a guard out on the street. It would be better use if they are out on the ground. If the need arises we will open it.
There are stations in Limerick that do not open 24/7 - people are out on the street. It is a better use of resources to have Gardaí out on the street,” he said..
Cllr Paul Mitchell said that Port is a lovely town to live in. “These are serious problems being visited on the people there. They’re not who caused it”.
He thanked the Gardaí for the work that they had done so far. “Can they increase their presence in the run up to Christmas? Local information is important and people are afraid to go to the Gardaí. Giving information is enough though and there is a confidential line”.
Cllr Ray Cribben said that the Garda presence is good.
Brian Stanley TD said that the matter was causing a lot of concern in the area, and that it was important for the community to co-operate with the Gardaí.
Margaret Guijt Lawlor of Portarlington Residents Association said that
“The Gardaí are doing an excellent job under the circumstances,” she said..