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EXCLUSIVE / Ardee has highest Garda Superintendent turnover in north-east

Garda Supterintendents
Supt James O'Leary (Ardee), Supt James Gerard Curley (Dundalk) and Supt Andrew Watters (Drogheda). Photo Credit: Kathy Gilroy-Barry.

There has been a higher turnover of Garda Superintendents at Ardee Garda Station than in any other district HQ in the North-East in the last decade, an investigation by LouthNow.ie has revealed.

Superintendent James O’Leary was appointed to lead the Ardee district in December of last year – but he is the seventh man to helm policing matters in the mid-Louth town since March 2015. Since the retirement of Eugene Brennan, six appointments have been made to the post of Ardee Superintendent – which is at least double the amount of new superintendents appointed to every other district in the north east, bar one.

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With information obtained via a Freedom of Information request lodged with An Garda Siochana, LouthNow.ie can reveal that the seven Garda Superintendents that have served in Ardee since March 2015 is more than at any station in Louth, Meath, Westmeath, Cavan or Monaghan in the same period.

In fact, the seven superintendents that have served in Ardee is more than have served at any of the 14 other district HQs in the region in the last 10 years. Garda districts are areas that make up a division. For example, the Louth Garda Division is comprised of the Ardee, Dundalk and Drogheda districts.

Each district has a headquarters, with a Superintendent in charge. These Superintendents are also known as District Officers. Smaller stations within the district do not have their own Superintendent, with those stations under the remit of the District Officers.

In contrast, the Drogheda district has seen just two Superintendents in charge within the last decade. Andrew Watters – himself a former Ardee Garda Supt – took over from Gerard Smith in 2015. Smith had been in situ as Drogheda Superintendent since 2005. In Dundalk, James Gerard Curley celebrates his tenth anniversary as Superintendent for the district this month. He replaced James Sheridan.

Stretching back to the respective starts of the tenures of Supt Smith and Supt Sheridan in Drogheda and Dundalk, both stations have had just two Superintendents in 15 years.

Superintendents in the Ardee Garda District

Click below to see how the number of Superintendents appointed to the Ardee Garda District, since 2008.

Between March 2015 and December 2019, a period of four years and nine months, seven superintendents led the district in Ardee. Based on data from that period, Ardee Garda District changes the superintendent every eight months – on average. This is by far the highest average turnover of any district in the five counties.

While Dundalk has had just one and Drogheda only two Garda Superintendents in the last decade, Ardee’s rotation of top cops surpasses districts all over the north east. Nearby Carrickmacross has had four superintendents in eight years, while Monaghan have had just three superintendents in eight years.

There have been just three Superintendents in charge at Cavan Garda Station in the last 10 years while Mullingar Garda Station has had just three in eight years. In Ashbourne, there has been four Superintendents in the last eight years.

For the purposes of the FOI request lodged by LouthNow.ie, information was requested pertaining to the following districts – Ardee, Dundalk, Drogheda, Monaghan, Cavan, Ballyconnell, Carrickmacross, Bailieborough, Mullingar, Athlone, Trim, Navan, Kells, Laytown and Ashbourne.

As of 2012, Laytown has had no Superintendent on site, with command based in Ashbourne Garda Station. As of 2017, Ballyconnell has had no Superintendent on site, with command based in Cavan Garda Station.

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