Calls have been made for the provision of increased policing in the Salthill and Knocknacarra area, amid claims that the garda station at the resort is unfit for purpose.
Cllr Pearce Flannery said this week that what he described as “a clearly unfit for purpose Salthill Garda station” is struggling to cope with an enormous territory which includes the Salthill, Knocknacarra, Taylor’s Hill and Rahoon areas and even extends right out to Carraroe.
“That there is only one community Garda servicing the Salthill and Knocknacarra area is an absolute disgrace. We have experienced an enormous growth in population in the Salthill Knocknacarra area over the last 20 years without any discernible increase in Garda numbers or facilities.
“Of late we have a new Garda station in Oranmore, one in Murrough, an upgraded Millstreet and still we have the clearly unfit for purpose Salthill station” he added.
“I have been in contact with the Minister’s office in the last few weeks and have tried to impress upon them the importance of increased policing in the area. In the short term we need increased numbers of Gardai on the beat especially community gardai. The number needs to increase to at least six. We need increased patrols and we need another station in Knocknacarra Town Centre,” said Cllr Flannery
“By way of comparison today as we speak Castlebar with a population of around 12, 000 has a Garda force of around 140 gardai. Salthill has a total Garda force of only around 40. Yet the population of Salthill-Knocknacarra alone is more than twice that of Castlebar with a much younger population.
“A young population automatically means that the demands on resources are greater. Anti-social behaviour and public order offences are on the rise and set to escalate not to mention the increased prevalence of drug use, sale, and distribution. This cannot continue. Salthill needs to retain the station it has with upgraded facilities and Garda numbers. In addition to this Knocknacarra needs a satellite station with sufficient staffing levels.
Anti social behaviour is rife in the area and is a growing problem. Increased visibility of community Gardai and Gardai on the beat on the ground is of paramount importance and this can only be achieved satisfactorily through increased numbers and resources.
As the population and the age profile in Knocknacarra increases and grows we are set to see a spiralling anti-social behaviour problem in the ward and especially in the Knocknacarra area with such a young population. This must be dealt with now. The only way is to increase Garda numbers, Garda resources and the provision of enhanced station facilities,” concluded Pearce Flannery.