Saturday 15 December 2018

Policing border major challenge after Brexit

Louth Policing Committee

The scene at Carrickarnon during a Border Communities Against Brexit demonstration
The scene at Carrickarnon during a Border Communities Against Brexit demonstration

Policing the 36 border crossings in Louth will be a 'major challenge' after Brexit, according to the head of the Louth Garda division.

Chief Supt. Christy Mangan spoke at the joint Louth Policing Committee meeting last week, where he highlighted the challenges that lay ahead in policing the border after Britain and Northern Ireland leave the European Union in 2019.

The garda chief said he had a 'very frank meeting' with the Minister for Justice who was in Dundalk last week, where he laid out the difficulties that the force will face after Brexit.

He said he made it clear that there was no way in which to man all 36 border crossings.

He pointed out that the logistics of sealing a border, with so many crossing points, were extremely difficult.

The demands on personnel alone would be huge.

'It would be very taxing and difficult for gardai to police the border, and there is no other of saying it.'

But he insisted that co-operation with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) would continue.

He told the Joint Policing Committee that in relation to resources overall, there was a steady stream of young gardai graduating from Templemore College, with the local division gaining eight new gardai in the last round.

These additional numbers enabled him to put extra resources into certain units, such as the drugs unit.

But he said he had raised serious concerns about the division being left without a Detective inspector, who retires later this month.

There was also currently no Garda Supt, in the Ardee division, with the Drogheda based Supt. Andrew Watters taking on both roles.

He said that this was 'not a good situation to be in' adding that it wasn't clear when the vacancy in Ardee would be filled again.

He said there were a range of vacancies across Drogheda, Dundalk and Ardee.

Chief Supt. Mangan said that while four years ago there were seven inspectors dealing with 61 portfolios, there are now just two inspectors dealing with the same workload, along with their duties in attending court.

He added that the provision of 'front line supervision' was essential to the force.

He said that he had raised these concerns about the Louth division with the Assistant Garda Commissioner.

The Argus