By Keith Bourke
Mayo and Roscommon/Longford have received the lowest number of Garda recruits in the country over the past five years.
The divisions, which are set to merge under new restructuring plans, have each received just 18 recruits from the Garda training college in Templemore since recruitment to the force recommenced in 2015. The highest number of recruits went to the Dublin Metropolitan Region (DMR) West, where 260 new recruits were deployed.
The paltry recruitment numbers for Mayo have been criticised.
“It is concerning. Gardaí are very thin on the ground in Mayo,” said Independent councillor and Mayo Joint Policing Committee (JPC) member Michael Kilcoyne.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris is due to meet with the JPC in Castlebar on Friday. Cllr Kilcoyne said the recruitment deficit will be among a number of issues raised with Commissioner Harris.
“This is a question that we will be asking the Commissioner. The Mayo division will now be merged into a huge area taking in three counties while counties like Kerry remain untouched,” said Cllr Kilcoyne. “The West has always been the poor relation and this is further evidence of that. Sadly, I am not surprised that the West is being forgotten about again.”
It was recently revealed that Castlebar will be the headquarters of the new Mayo and Roscommon/Longford Division but councillors and JPC representatives are anxious to grill Commissioner Harris on the reshuffle.
The new recruitment figures show a significant discrepancy in the number of Garda recruits deployed to different parts of the country over the past five years.
Outside of Dublin, the Garda’s Louth division received more Garda recruits over the past five years than any other; a total of 136 personnel. The division is on the Border and has also seen a volatile gangland feud in Drogheda worsen since it began in July 2018.
The Galway division received an extra 50 recruits since 2015 while the Sligo/Leitrim garda division saw 31 additions.