The shortage of Garda patrol cars available in the Galway West Garda Division is now at “crisis level” and immediate action is needed to ensure a more visible Garda presence to combat the worrying increase in crime levels in housing estates in the west of the city.
Knocknacarra and Galway city west ward councillor Donal Lyons made the comments this week after receiving numerous representations from residents who have suffered as a result of the increased crime levels. The Independent councillor, who is also a member of the Galway City Joint Policing board, added that over the past six months there has been a spate of burglaries, attempted burglaries, break-in to cars, and theft of personal property.
“There is a genuine concern that the present trends are unacceptable and people want action. People who I have spoken to are calling for more foot and motor patrols and a more visible Garda presence in our communities. A number of Neighbour Watch Schemes have commenced and older Neighbourhood Watch Schemes have been re-established as people want to see their communities protected.
“I am also concerned regarding the severe reduction in the number of Garda vehicles available in the Galway West Garda Division to carry out basic Garda duties. I am led to believe that the number of Garda vehicles is now at an all time low. I understand that two years ago there were 11 Garda cars available to the Salthill District. This is now down to five cars with one of those based in the Aran Islands. This level of patrol cars available is far below what would be considered minimal policing requirements.
“I am aware that every effort is being made by local senior Garda management to address the shortage of patrol cars, but their hands are tied because the number of cars being de-commissioned is far greater than the number of new cars being made available. I now believe that the shortage of patrol cars is now at crisis level and that an immediate investment in supplementing the Garda fleet now needs to be made as a matter of extreme urgency,” said Cllr Lyons.
Cllr Lyons also confirmed that he has asked Independent TD Noel Grealish to place a parliamentary question to the Minister of Justice on the matter asking “how many Garda patrol cars were in active service within the Galway West Division” on January 31, 2009, and each year following until January 31, 2013. It also asks “how many cars were in active service in the Galway West Division on January 31, 2014, excluding all cars that are temporarily out of service for any reason” and if he will make a statement on the matter.