Historic first as Kerry gets female chief supt

Dónal Nolan

Kerry's first-ever female Garda Chief Superintendent is to take up her position at the helm of the force here within weeks, The Kerryman has learned.

Superintendent Eileen Foster, a native of County Cork, is to take up the role by the end of the month, with serving Kerry Chief Supt Tom Myers transferring as Chief Supt to the Fermoy district in North Cork.

She will inherit a policing structure that's in much ruder health than when Tom Myers was appointed to the head of the force here back in December 2016. In his relatively short stint at the helm, Supt Myers oversaw an increase in resources in key areas from the traffic corps to the drugs unit, with garda numbers in Kerry up  across the board - albeit from an historic low.

Supt Myers also established the Kerry Protective Services Unit, a special task force within the Kerry gardaí for tackling sex crimes, which became operational at the start of this year. 

It is one of just six such units nationally that rolled out in the second phase of a policy that began with four units nationally. 

Chief Supt Eileen Foster was the head of one of the first four: the Cork Protective Services Unit. Since it came on stream, it has been credited with a massive surge in public confidence in the gardaí's ability to investigate sex crimes.

Under Chief Supt Foster, Cork witnessed a 130-per-cent surge in the reporting of sex crimes since the unit was set-up. She was promoted to Supt heading the National Protection Services Unit last year in Dublin.

Supt Foster also has extensive experience in fighting drug crime, having served on the drugs squad in Cork for many years - alongside Tom Myers. Her appointment is being widely welcomed among the Gardaí in Kerry.