Drogheda Garda Station to retain its area status
Drogheda is to be the Divisional Headquarters of the new Garda policing district, taking in Louth, Cavan and Monaghan.
Commissioner Drew Harris made the announcement last week, but stated that there will be no changes until the full impact of Brexit is known.
And while the Drogheda decision has been welcomed, the East Meath area will now be policed by a service with a HQ in Mullingar, Co Westmeath.
There had been calls for a full review of the policing area, given that Drogheda/East Meath has a population of up to 80,000 and growing.
'While I am pleased that Drogheda is to be the Divisional HQ following the recent Garda Siochana regional restructuring, I am concerned that Louth and Meath were kept apart again. We have more in common with Meath than we do with Cavan - I'm sure the good people of Belturbet are thinking the same,' Cllr James Byrne, chair of the local Joint Policing group, stated.
The selection of Drogheda was based on population, geography, projected growth, crime trends and workload across a range of work streams.
'It does make sense that Drogheda was selected as Divisional HQ. However, it does nothing for those living on the Meath side of Drogheda or coastal Meath who must rely on a part-time station in Laytown, with Ashbourne being the closest fully operational station twenty miles away. If you live in Stameen you call Drogheda but if you live in Deepforde you ring Ashbourne. With the population explosion over recent years on the coast you would have expected an upgraded full-time station in Laytown to be in place by now. It's almost like East Meath is an afterthought. Matters won't be helped with its Divisional Headquarters in Mullingar,' he explained.
He now wants to see the breakdown on garda numbers to see if it means the needs of local communities.
'We know how overstretched they are locally even with the recent boost in numbers. People must be able to feel safe in their own communities regardless of which side of the county boundary they live on,' the councillor added.
Fianna Fáil TD Declan Breathnach has welcomed the announcement that the Headquarters of the new Louth-Cavan-Monaghan Garda division will be in Drogheda.
"I am glad the HQ for this new super division will be in Louth, which at a population of 128,884, is easily the biggest County in the division'.
The station in Drogheda is to be extended in the coming months with a development on the site of the present car park.
It will then be able to house more officers as over the years it has struggled to accommodate the number of gardai, along with various services.
The Murdock's car park across the road will also be closing to the public shortly to allow its use solely for garda vehicles.