58% drop in road police

There are concerns once again over policing manpower in Cavan-Monaghan after new figures revealed a 58% drop in the number of gardaí assigned to patrolling the region's roads.

Membership of the division's Roads Policing Unit, which has now been merged with neighbouring Louth since December, were slashed from 38 in 2009 to just 16 in 2023.

It represents the largest percentage decrease for a rural division in the country and comes at a time when the number of deaths on Cavan's roads hit their highest point in a decade last year.

Six people lost their lives in fatal road traffic accidents in Cavan in 2023, a record not surpassed since the bleakest of years in 2012 when 10 tragically died in county crashes.

On top of that, eight people have died in only the first eight days of the New Year on roads nationally, including dad of four Gary Murphy (48), Garrymore, Ballinagh, and formerly St Martin's Estate, Cavan Town.

He died when the motorbike he was travelling on was involved in a collision with a second vehicle on the main Cavan to Ballinagh road (N55) at Corlurgan outside Cavan Town on Tuesday afternoon, January 2.

The Cavan-Monaghan fall off in the garda roads unit was topped only by a decline of 72% in officers assigned to Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) East, down from 18 members to five.

The figures also cast light on the daily challenges faced by local gardaí tasked with patrolling the border area.

Since 2009 the number of gardaí patrolling roads in neighbouring Sligo-Leitrim were cut by half, from 34 to 17, up to the end of August last year; while in Donegal unit numbers have fallen by more than fifth (7) over the same near 14-year period, and by 23% (7) in Louth.

The steady decline in Cavan-Monaghan road policing numbers comes to light as moves are being made to establish a panel of candidates to staff the Cavan-Monaghan Divisional Drug Unit.

There will be two units - one assigned to each county - Cavan and Monaghan - comprising of one sergeant and four gardaí.

Disbanded in 2013 but reformed four years later, numbers assigned to the divisional drugs unit locally had fallen to zero in recent months.

However, the soon to be assigned gardaí will be drawn from an already under pressure pool of rank-and-file members. Just one of 151 members newly sworn last month was assigned to the Eastern region to serve the newly merged three county Cavan-Monaghan-Louth division.

The latest to graduate from Templemore were recruited in 2022 and were the first in-take post pandemic.

A further 348 Garda recruits are currently undergoing training at the Garda College.