There have been calls for the garda station in Askeaton to be restored to full time service following a spate of robberies in the area.
Cllrs David Naughton and Kevin Sheahan raised the issue at a local electoral area meeting this week, with Cllr Sheahan claiming that the chief superintendent has acknowledged there is a need for the station to be reopened.
Cllr Naughton called for the former district headquarters to be opened “full time” and for more gardai to be stationed there. It is currently staffed for just one hour per day.
Cllr Sheahan said the closure of the station was a big issues for many people in the area. “Nobody can understand how a district headquarters in Askeaton was reduced overnight to nothing,” he said.
Speaking at Tuesday’s meeting, Cllr Sheahan claimed that he had asked chief superintendant Dave Sheahan if he had any update on the situation in Askeaton and “he said the acting commissioner is visiting Newcastle West and he has asked the superintendent to raise the issue that there is a weakness there.”
“The chief superintendent told me straight out: ‘the first thing I need is a sergeant in Askeaton and I can’t get one.’ He has done his level best and he has advised the superintendent in Newcastle West to bring it to the acting commissioner’s attention,” Cllr Sheahan told the meeting.
He added that the people of Limerick “deserve to have a proper and adequate police force”, and called for the process of recruiting gardai to be speeded up.
It was pointed out by Cllr John Sheahan that there would be 300 new recruits starting in the garda training college in June. He also suggested that current members of the garda reserve force should be selected with a view to their being suitable to become permanent members of the force.
However, Cllr Kevin Sheahan, himself a former garda, questioned the recruitment policy which gives preference to people with degrees and high Leaving Cert points. He pointed out that good policemen don’t necessarily need degrees or other academic qualifications.
“There are going to be brainboxes out there with the caps on but they are likely to lack cop on,” he added.
Referring to the large number of people on trolleys in the Limerick University Hospital, he commented: “People can’t get an adequate health service or an adequate police service.”