Gardai facing huge pressure following overtime ban

Garda resources in Drogheda are being stretched to breaking point after reports this week that overtime has been banned in the locality.

That will immediately cast doubt over events that need to be policed, unless the clubs and groups involved in staging them foot the bill between now and the end of the year.

A number of major investigations in the area in recent months has seen overtime figures rise.

Drogheda also has substantially less numbers of gardai than Dundalk to begin with.

Addressing the recent Joint Policing Committee meeting in Drogheda, Supt Andrew Watters confirmed that more gardai were needed in Drogheda and shift numbers needed to be boosted as a matter of urgency.

In recent months, the force has had to deal with a murder in Dunleer, a shooting and pipe bombs.

There have also been complaints about anti-social behaviour on the streets of the town.

He said such incidents are tackled, when numbers are available.

He also addressed reports of ongoing anti social problems in the Rathmullen area, but again it was a matter of resources.

He said he was keen to introduce a number of measures and if the resources are available, they can be realised.

Cllr Pio Smith says cutting overtime budgets in Drogheda, at the present time, is just ‘scandalous.’

He says there is a serious problem with ASB across areas of Drogheda and ‘there is the possibility of a gang war’ erupting with the recent shooting and pipe bomb attack in the town. There was also a murder in Dunleer.

‘On top of this we have seen over the past four years Dundalk receive more recruits from Templemore than Drogheda. The guards in Drogheda are trying to keep people safe in the town with both hands tied behind their back. They are doing a great job given the constraints that is being imposed on them from above, but enough is enough, this overtime ban will have to be reversed or else people in the town will take to the streets in protest.

‘We have the Fleadh coming and we face the possibility of having a skeleton garda presence in and around the town. The dogs in the street know that the Drogheda guards need more resources, we are told that our economy is recovered, yet we in Drogheda are suffering more cuts to frontline services.’

Senator Ged Nash added, ‘It is completely unacceptable that an overtime ban has been imposed in Drogheda. I will be seeking an urgent meeting with the justice Minister to highlight the lack of resources available to the guards in our town. It must be reversed.’

Drogheda Independent