A GARDA patrol car which was written off in a serious crash in Newcastle West last month will not be replaced, the Limerick Leader has learned.
The vehicle, which was technically assigned to the local traffic corps unit but was also used for general operations in the Newcastle West area, was badly damaged in the accident just outside the town on June 22.
However it has since emerged that garda headquarters will not be providing the local district with a replacement vehicle, which amounts to another cut to local policing resources.
An official garda spokesperson would not comment on the matter when contacted by the Limerick Leader this week, stating only that “the garda budget and allocation of resources are kept under constant review by local and senior garda management, with all options available being considered... regarding resource allocation.”
However a number of garda sources have confirmed that the local station has been informed that the car will not be replaced.
This follows another controversial decision in recent months, in which a new patrol car in the Newcastle West district was damaged during a pursuit, but was replaced with a ten-year-old vehicle with circa 300,000 miles on the clock.
The decision to not replace the patrol car has been strongly criticised by local county councillor Michael Collins, who said that it is becoming harder and harder for gardai to do their job.
“This is another cut to garda resources, which will have an inevitable impact on rural policing. I know this car was based in Newcastle West, but it was used for patrols right around the local area. You’ve the added problem of cars up in the station which are years old with hundreds of thousands of miles up. The simple fact is, if the gardai need to pursue someone, they don’t have the means to do it.”
Cllr Collins said that across County Limerick, fears about the future level of policing have not abated despite assurances by senior garda management. Garda stations in Doon and Shanagolden were recently closed, while there has also been a fervent public campaign to protect Pallaskenry garda station from cuts.