A moratorium on recruitment and promotions in the public sector means that Ballycastle garda station is without any garda personnel. In fact rural garda stations across Mayo have been severely impacted by the number of officers retiring in the county.
Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern has said the allocation of resources in An Garda Síochána, including the distribution of personnel, is a matter for the Commissioner and senior Garda management and it is the responsibility of the divisional officer to allocate personnel within each garda division.
He was responding to a query by Westport TD Michael Ring.
Despite the moratorium on recruitment and promotions, Minister Ahern said he would keep the situation under review in consultation with the Garda Commissioner and the Minister for Finance.
However, Deputy Ring has expressed his disappointment that the position has not been filled in Ballycastle and vowed to maintain pressure on the Minister and the relevant authorities to give resources back to the gardaí in Mayo.
“It is very important for communities to have Gardaí living and working in their locality. Community based Gardaí would have vital local knowledge to help prevent crime. If an incident should arise in Ballycastle, the Garda Stations in Ballina and Killala are too far away to respond fast enough,” Dep Ring explained.
He said he would continue calling on the Justice Minister and the Garda Síochána to fill the position in Ballycastle as soon as possible.
Dep O’Mahony has also raised the issue, saying too many rural stations are being served by urban garda stations. The situation in Ballindine is similar to that in Ballycastle in that a retired garda has not been replaced. An officer was also recently transferred out of Hollymount and not replaced while Knock Garda Station, which had one sergeant and three gardaí, is now being serviced by Claremorris, according to Dep O’Mahony.
“It is important to state that these rural centres are being serviced from the district headquarters but people in these towns and villages deserve gardaí in their own areas, something they have come to expect since the foundation of the State.”