1 garda per 700 citizens a ‘cause for concern’ in Swords

by Sylvia Pownall

Swords Garda Station has just one garda per 710 citizens under its protection, which is one-sixth of the numbers policing other areas, it has emerged.

The busy Fingal station is expected to serve 49,000 citizens with only 69 gardai – compared to 450 members serving a similar population in Limerick.

Labour Party representatives learned of the stark figures during a recent meeting with Superintendant Donnelly and immediately called for action.

Deputy Brendan Ryan (Lab) said: “The R district, which includes Donabate and Swords, has approximately 700 incidents reported per week and is one of the busiest districts in the country.

“The isolated Donabate peninsula is of particular concern. It has no permanent garda presence there, and the population is set to reach 20,000 people over the next 10 years.”

Ryan met with Supt Donnelly with his party colleagues, Cllr Duncan Smith and Donabate area representative Corina Johnston.

He said: “During the recent local elections campaign, the number-one issue raised at the doors in Donabate and Portrane was the lack of a garda presence and the need for a garda station for the area.

“A community high-visibility garda presence on the ground is needed now. I intend to pursue these legitimate concerns with the Minister for Justice and the Garda Commissioner.”

Fingal is the fastest growing local authority area in the country and has experienced a serious spike in violent crime.

Last week, a man in Rush was beaten with a hammer during a vicious burglary at his home, and earlier this month, a teenager was hospitalised after an unprovoked gang attack in Swords.

Meanwhile, the Minister of State at the Office of Public Works has confirmed that Rush Garda Station will be ready to reopen before the end of September.

The station, one of several closed in 2012 amid controversy during budget cuts, will be handed back to An Garda Siochana, according to Minister Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran.

In a letter to Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee (FF) dated August 22, he advised: “The OPW has undertaken and completed the required external maintenance and enabling works at Rush Garda Station.

“The tender process for the main works has been completed and the contractor appointed … We expect that the building will be ready for handover to An Garda Siochana at end of Q3 2019.”

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