Friday 18 January 2019

Questions over manpower after attack on garda

Blackwater Garda Station
Blackwater Garda Station

Pádraig Byrne

Questions have once again been raised in relation to manpower in rural garda stations after a member of An Garda Síochána was the victim of a brutal assault while responding to a call in Blackwater recently. The garda, who is the sole garda based in the village, was viciously attacked by another male and had to be rushed to hospital where he received stitches to his face. He also had extensive bruising to his face and body.

The incident took place on May 23 and while fellow gardaí from Gorey and Enniscorthy rushed to their colleagues' assistance, it is reported to have taken twenty minutes for them to reach the scene. A spokesman for Enniscorthy Gardaí said that while the garda was making a recovery, he is not expected to return to work for well over a month.

'We have been campaigning for extra manpower at rural stations for some time now,' the spokesman said. 'Ideally, a garda would not be responding to calls like this on his own.'

The spokesman remained vague on the nature of the incident his colleague was responding to, but he did say that the man accused of the attack is due to be questioned and a file will be prepared for the DPP.

Local councillor Oliver Walsh said that he had raised the issue of manpower in Blackwater at a recent in-committee meeting between members of the Enniscorthy Municipal District Council and Superintendent Gerry McGrath.

'It is an issue that I have been raising,' he said. 'At one stage, there were two Sergeants and seven gardaí between the likes of Blackwater, Oulart and Oylegate. Now we're down to just one garda in each station and it's not good enough really.'

'In Blackwater, we have a big influx of people in the summertime. It's a big area and as well as that, it's fairly far from the main towns as well. That was an issue that the fire service also raised at a meeting with the council lately.'

In the wake of this serious attack, Cllr Walsh is firm in his call for more investment in manpower at Blackwater Station before any further incidents occur. Meanwhile, everyone in the village is hopeful of a speedy recovery for the garda involved.

Enniscorthy Guardian