So much for rural crime: 94 out of 99 new gardai are assigned to Leinster
Published 10/04/2016 | 02:30
Not one of the latest batch of garda recruits was allocated to a station in Connacht, while the entire province of Munster only got five trainees, figures obtained by the Sunday Independent show.
In sharp contrast, 94 out of the total intake of 99 new gardai were assigned to stations in Dublin and other counties in Leinster.
The latest revelation comes amid growing concerns among farming and other community leaders over the escalation in rural crime.
According to new figures, Dublin received the lion's share of the new personnel, with 46 of the Templemore graduates deployed to stations across the capital.
Meath received 10 new gardai, while Louth secured eight. Longford, Laois, Offaly, Kildare, Wexford and Kilkenny were each allocated five new members.
According to the figures, the entire Munster region got just five trainee gardai, who are deployed in Waterford.
The border counties of Donegal, Monaghan, and Cavan failed to receive a single recently-recruited garda.
Garda resources in rural areas have emerged as a key point of discussion in the current round of talks to form a new government.
Rural TDs are insistent that increased garda deployment - including the possible reopening of recently closed stations - should be included in any agreed political deal.
Farming organisations have told the Sunday Independent that the level of fear among rural dwellers, regarding burglary, theft, and possible assault, remains unacceptably high.
Seamus Sherlock, rural development chairman of the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers' Association (ICSA), said crime in provincial areas is now an "epidemic".
"We need to look at using the army to back up garda resources until a full complement of gardai is in place to tackle certain criminal gangs.
"These latest figures, which highlight how few new gardai are stationed outside Leinster, show the government has forgotten about rural Ireland.
"Provincial areas are dying a slow death. A lot of those who have been robbed are older people - and far too many of this age group simply can't sleep soundly at night. People are living in fear of their lives."
In a statement, An Garda Siochana said the allocation of newly-recruited gardai is based on policing needs. "The allocation of probationer gardai is considered within the overall context of the needs of every garda division throughout the country," it added.