Since training resumed in 2014, only 10 additional Gardaí have been allocated to Wicklow. Considering that just under 1,000 new Gardaí have graduated from Templemore in that same period this is a frankly abysmal number. To make matters worse, some 32 Gardaí have left the Wicklow Division over the last 18 months, meaning there has been a net loss of 22 Gardaí in the county. This meagre allocation also coincides with the closure of local Garda stations, cuts to personnel and a reduction of services across the county. So it comes as no surprise that we have seen a significant increase in burglaries in recent years, particularly in areas such as Bray, Greystones and Kilcoole as a result of these harsh cuts.
Wicklow has undoubtedly suffered as a result of the Government’s refusal to allocate significant resources to the county. The strength of the force locally currently stands at 295, a marked drop from the 365 officers stationed here in 2010. Wicklow’s population has also grown over the same period of time, so the Gardaí are forced to do more with fewer resources.
It is clear that we need to see more Gardaí on the streets and in our towns and villages. Visibility plays a huge part in deterring crime and easing the fears of local people. Fianna Fáil secured a commitment under the Confidence and Supply Arrangement for increased Garda recruitment. I’ve called on Minister Flanagan to ensure that Wicklow receives a substantial allocation of personnel once the new recruits graduate.
Cllr. Gerry Walsh, who is also a member of the Joint Policing Committee and a former Garda sergeant, is also acutely aware of the issue and raises it regularly at this forum. We both agree that it’s important that the people of Greystones feel secure, and this means having the visible Garda presence in the Greystones District. Here’s a look at how County Wicklow’s Garda resources are distributed.
WICKLOW GARDA DIVISION 31 May 2016
|WICKLOW DIVISION TOTAL||309|