Longford GRA rep claims merged Garda divisions will not lead to increase in rural policing

A representative of frontline gardai in the Shannonside region has hit out at claims that more frontline Gardai will be available as a result of a major garda organisational reshuffle.

The number of Garda divisions is being reduced from 28 to 19, while the number of regions will go from 6 to 4, in what the force is promising will lead to more localised policing.

Longford/Roscommon is being merged with Mayo while officers in Sligo/Leitrim will now be part of a division with colleagues from Donegal.

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The new local divisions will also form part of a new super north/west garda regional operation.

Commissioner Drew Harris outlined that 800 additional members are being recruited, while 1,000 existing Gardaí are to be reassigned to frontline duties.

However, Dave Conroy, who is a garda based in Longford, claims that the figures outlined by the commissioner don’t add up :

Noel Cunningham is the President of the Association of Garda Superintendents who have expressed unhappiness at how the plan was not fully explained to members before today’s media briefing.

Under the plans, there will be a nationwide reduction in the number of garda superintendents, with their roles changing within the expanded districts

The Policing Authority says it represents the most significant structural change since the inception of the Garda Síochána while the Garda Inspectorate says it’ll lead a more responsive and consistent approach to policing.

Superintendent Cunningham told the Joe Finnegan show that there would be a concern among members at the loss of local knowledge in relation to future policing :