Four new Gardai recruits from Templemore arrived to begin duty at Dundalk Garda Station last week – but there remains staffing issues at senior level in the county, with Superintendent, Inspector and Sergeant vacancies to fill in stations across the county.
Following the retirement of Dundalk Superintendent Gerry Curley and the reassignment of Ardee Superintendent James O’Leary, two of three district superintendent positions are vacant. Speaking at the Dundalk Joint Policing Committee public forum, held remotely via video conference on Tuesday evening, Chief Superintendent for Louth Christy Mangan confirmed there was no progress on the appointment of the two senior roles.
He described the arrival of the four new Gardai as “positive” but said there was “no clear light at the end of the tunnel” in regards to the allocation of a new Superintendent in either Dundalk or Ardee. “That is presenting difficulties to me,” he said.
Currently, Inspector Liam Archibold and Inspector Ronan Carey are fulfilling the roles of Acting Superintendent in Dundalk and Ardee Garda Stations respectively.
He, and Inspector Archibold, also offered an update of sorts on other vacancies that remain unfilled around the county, including at Blackrock Garda Station which is currently operating without a Sergeant. “We will look at the shifts in Blackrock,” the Chief Supt added but Insp Archibold said he didn’t see scope for changing shifts in the seaside village but he was sourcing extra support for the area.
Independent councillor Maeve Yore suggested a change in shift times for Garda officers in Dundalk to patrol in Blackrock, in light of anti-social incidents last weekend.
“It is a priority of ours to increase the station out there. We are short. There is no Sergeant in Blackrock and it would make a massive difference if we had one.”
Last month, it was revealed that there are eight sergeant positions currently vacant within the Dundalk Garda District. These included in Blackrock, as well as Hackballscross and Omeath.
According to now retired Superintendent Curley, some sergeants stationed at Dundalk Garda Station were running units of 12 or 13 Garda officers, some of them young and inexperienced. Supt Curley had spoken to Garda Commissioner Drew Harris about the matter.
A letter to the Garda Commissioner, on behalf of the JPC, has already been issued requesting that the Sergeant vacancies in Blackrock and Omeath be filled.