Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly, Barry Cowen, has said the Minister for Justice has questions to answer "as to why there are so few Garda vehicles to cover the entire Laois-Offaly division."
Deputy Cowen was commenting as new figures revealed to Fianna Fáil show that the total number of Garda vehicles in the Laois-Offaly Garda division in 2019 is 56. In 2018, 2017 and 2016 this stood at 59, 60 and 61 respectively.
Deputy Cowen said, “Over the past four years, despite an increase in population, we’ve seen a steady decline in the number of Garda vehicles to patrol the county.
“At the moment we have 37 cars, 13 vans, three motorcycles, one 4x4, and two other vehicles categorised as ‘others’. They have to cover an area of over 3,720 km² and a population of over 162,000.
“Ferbane to Durrow is more than an hour drive, over some mountainous terrain, and having one 4x4 which can respond to an emergency just isn’t enough.
“We are a rural area and we need a robust and mobile police force to patrol it,” he concluded.