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Justice Minister to receive Drogheda invite to talk ‘policing pressures’

James Byrne
Drogheda Borough councillor James Byrne, photographed at the Highlanes Gallery. Photo Credit: Kathy Gilroy-Barry.

Chairman of the Drogheda Borough Council Joint Policing Committee Cllr James Byrne is to formally write to the new Minister for Justice Helen McEntee to invite her to a meeting of the committee to discuss additional funding for An Garda Siochana in the county.

Cllr Byrne told the July meeting of the forum – which includes councillors, members of the Oireachtas, community representatives and senior Gardai – that he had already written to the new Minister to inform her of the pressures put on Garda resources in the county during the Covid-19 pandemic.

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It is believed that approximately 70% of the annual budget for the Louth Division has already been spent in 2020, with increased resources put towards Covid-19 road checkpoints and other associated policing making a dent in the coffers at the disposal of Chief Superintendent for Louth Christy Mangan.

Fergus O’Dowd TD is to have a private meeting with Minister McEntee in which he pledged to raise a number of issues pertaining to the county but Cllr Byrne confirmed to LouthNow.ie that a formal invitation to the Minister will be issued. Minister McEntee was in Slane on Monday with the Garda Commissioner Drew Harris.

Additionally, Chief Supt Mangan said that Gardai are making progress in expanding the Drogheda Garda District over the border to include parts of Meath.

“We almost have a report completed,” he told the meeting. “Our recommendations is that certain parts of Meath will come into the Louth Division. Hopefully it will happen within a reasonable period of time.”

The Chief Supt also confirmed that Commissioner Harris was in favour of the move. Some areas along the boundary of Drogheda town and county Meath have been the subject of some confusion in recent times. Earlier this year, a situation in Rosevale in Drogheda, which is split by the Louth/Meath border, ended when two neighbours in the estate separately called Gardai – only to be responded to by officers from two different stations, Drogheda and Ashbourne.

On another occasion, Gardai in Ashbourne were called to respond to a break-in at Drogheda Retail Park, despite Drogheda Station being located just 3km away.

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