Friday 22 November 2019

Commuter belt worse off as wide regional variations in number of gardaí revealed

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Seán McCárthaigh

Wide variations in the number of gardaí per head of population are revealed today - with the commuter belt coming off worst.

An analysis of Garda manpower across the country's 28 divisions reveals some divisions in the north-west have almost twice as many gardaí per head of population as parts of the Greater Dublin Area.

The figures show the Garda divisions of Roscommon/Longford and Sligo/Leitrim have proportionally the highest number of gardaí outside Dublin's inner city areas.

Roscommon/Longford has more than 32 gardaí per 10,000 population, while Sligo/Leitrim has more than 31. The national average is 26.3.

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In contrast, Meath has the lowest ratio of gardaí to population in the country at just under 17 gardaí per 10,000. Kildare has the second lowest at around 18.

The scale of the imbalance is highlighted by the fact that while the number of gardaí serving in Meath (324) and Roscommon/Longford (314) is similar, Meath has over 94,000 more inhabitants.

Kildare has 394 gardaí compared with 581 in Limerick, despite having a population 20,000 more than Limerick.

Census figures show the population of Kildare and Meath each grew by almost 6pc from 2011 to 2016 - the highest rates in the country.

The two divisions in Dublin city centre have proportionally the highest staffing levels in the country.

In Dublin North Central, which has the highest overall crime rates in the country, there are over 83 gardaí per 10,000 population - over three times the national average.

Dublin South Central has an average of almost 66 gardaí per 10,000 people.

A Garda spokesperson said that the number of gardaí assigned to a division was not determined by population alone and was under continual review.

Irish Independent

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