Number of specialist gardaí drops

The number of Gardaí in specialist units in Cavan and Monaghan has dropped in recent years.

New figures released by Minister for Justice, Helen McEntee, show the number of members in the local Divisional Drugs Unit has halved over the last three years.

Just three gardaí formed part of the unit on May 31 last, down from six in 2019.

The drugs unit locally was reestablished in 2017 after concerns across both counties about an increase in drug dealing and drug-related crime. It was disbanded as part of cuts by former Justice Minister Alan Shatter in 2013. Gardaí in the unit at the time were redeployed to general policing duties across the region.

The number of gardaí assigned to the Garda Roads Policing Unit in Cavan and Monaghan has also fallen. It stood at 16 on May 31, down from 26 in 2018.

Minister McEntee said, while the number of gardaí in local specialist units has fallen, the overall number of gardaí stationed across Cavan and Monaghan has increased.

“At the end of May 2022, there were 385 Gardaí assigned to this division, which was an increase of 56 gardaí (or 17%) on the number assigned to this division at the end of 2017.”

She notes that, while the Government provides funding to An Garda Síochána, the allocation of gardaí is a matter for the Commissioner and Chief Superintendents.

“I understand that it is a matter for the Divisional Chief Superintendent to determine the optimum distribution of duties among the personnel available to them, having regard to the profile of each area within the Division and its specific needs.”

The number of community gardaí has drastically increased over the division in recent years. The latest figures show 15 gardaí are allocated to community work. 2018 saw no gardaí listed as engaged in community work, with increases since.

An Garda Siochána describes community policing as “a partnership based, proactive, problem solving style of policing. It is focused on community engagement, crime prevention and law enforcement and addresses crime and policing quality of life issues affecting communities.”

Civilian staff

The number of civilian Garda staff has also increased, to reach its highest level since at least 2010. The figures from the Department of Justice show 59 members of Garda staff working across Cavan and Monaghan.

Monaghan station has the highest number of such staff at 21, with 12 in Cavan and 11 in Bailieborough. The remainder are in Clones, Virginia, Carrickmacross, Castleblayney and Ballyconnell.