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Scale of sergeant shortfall in Dundalk Garda District laid bare

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There are eight sergeant positions currently vacant within the Dundalk Garda District, Superintendent Gerard Curley has revealed.

The outgoing Superintendent, who retires after almost 40 years in An Garda Siochana at the end of next week, told councillors during the October meeting of the Dundalk Joint Policing Committee that he had “no good news” to relay after a query from Independent councillor Maeve Yore in relation to the Garda numbers in Blackrock.

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Supt Curley said that the Dundalk district was down eight sergeants and revealed there were currently no sergeants in Blackrock, as well as Hackballscross and Omeath, the latter he described as “another very significant area”.

The Superintendent said he had some sergeants stationed at Dundalk Garda Station running units of 12 or 13 Garda officers, some of them young and inexperienced. “It is not right,” he said.

He told the meeting that he had sent in applications for more sergeants and had spoken to Garda Commissioner Drew Harris about the matter. However, his calls have so far fallen on deaf ears.

Superintendent Curley confirmed that patrols from Dundalk Garda Station are assisting in Blackrock in the short term and that Garda Damien Welby has been performing duties as an acting sergeant in the seaside village. The Supt said he was “stretched to the limit.”

He urged councillors present during the meeting – held via video conference due to Level 3 restrictions in place – to refer the matter to their local representatives in the Oireachtas in a bid to move forward with new allocations of sergeants to the area.

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