Loughrea Garda District is at breaking point because of severe staff shortages, according to Galway East TD Anne Rabbitte.
The deputy says senior management claim they urgently need more officers on the ground to ensure a fully operational and safe service.
Garda numbers in the Loughrea Garda District have fallen to dangerously low levels and there are now serious concerns that there are not enough officers in the area to deliver core services, she says.
"This situation has been exacerbated because of holiday leave and is expected to persist for a number of weeks. It is extremely worrying and residents in the Loughrea area want to see it rectified. The fact that Garda numbers are well below the minimum required to run an effective force is simply unacceptable. While the situation in Loughrea is particularly bad, the Salthill and Galway City Districts are also finding themselves under pressure."
According to Deputy Rabbitte, senior Garda management say they need a minimum of six new recruits in the Loughrea District to relieve the immediate pressure, as well as a 10 per cent increase in staffing levels to ensure a fully operational force. "The East Galway region saw its Garda resources seriously depleted during the lifetime of the last Government, with the loss of five marked squad cars. Fianna Fáil wants to ensure that the force is properly resourced and supported and staffing levels are a key part of this process."
She is calling on Minister for Justice Francis Fitzgerald to immediately review the situation in the Galway Regional Division so that additional Gardai can be approved for the area, and the concerns of residents in Loughrea can be properly addressed.