Extra gardaí is just the first step on the road to tackle crime near the Border
Published 19/10/2015 | 02:30
The decision by the Garda authorities to draft 25 additional uniformed members into the Dundalk district in the wake of the murder of their colleague, Tony Golden, must be seen as an immediate response only to the tragedy.
The personnel are being transferred from stations in Dublin and the northern region.
The move is being backed by a big plainclothes operation to tackle the criminal and dissident republican gangs that have been on the rampage in the area.
The operation will be targeted and intelligence led and involve gardaí from the emergency response unit, other units from within the Special Branch, the national surveillance unit and detectives from the National Bureau of Criminal Investigations.
The measures will be welcomed by the local communities, particularly those living close to the Border and those directly affected by the murders of Garda Golden in Omeath and the fatal shooting in January 2013 of Det Garda Adrian Donohoe.
It will also provide a boost to the embattled and under-resourced station party in Dundalk and surrounding areas.
The measures have been sanctioned by Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan following discussions with local force management in Dundalk after Garda Golden's funeral.
But while they will be a source of comfort to the local gardaí and those communities in the short term, they must be followed up by a more comprehensive and considered review of the problems posed by criminality and terrorism in north Louth.
Since the declaration of a cessation of violence by the Provisional IRA, garda strength in many Border areas has been scaled down as the force turned its attention from terrorism to other criminal issues.
But it has been clear for several years that senior IRA figures in the Louth-Monaghan-Armagh region continue to be highly active in either controlling criminality there or taking a slice of the profits from other groups, who have been given a licence by the terror godfathers to operate in their backyard.
Work must begin on that review now and, with the personnel increase being provided over the next 12 months by the resumption of recruitment to the force, Dundalk and other neglected areas must be targeted as priorities for attention from garda headquarters in the Phoenix Park.