By Trevor Quinn
A serious incident is likely to happen and the risks to the Mayo public are far greater because of a lack of Garda resources, a councillor has claimed.
Castlebar municipal district chairman Michael Kilcoyne has written to Mayo Garda Chief Superintendent Ray McMahon and requested a meeting to discuss policing levels.
Garda resources were so stretched in Castlebar in May that patrol cars from Westport and Ballina were called in to cover the county town.
The Independent councillor said there was still an issue with resources and frontline gardaí in Mayo were fewer than they had been “in a long time”.
“When an emergency 999 call is made, that call actually goes through to the regional centre in Galway and the person there has a look at the map and says, ‘I see Castlebar there, there’s no car available.’ The next nearest car might be Claremorris, Ballina, or Westport, so they’ll send that car — that’s what happening.
“They’re using the same kind of a model that the ambulance service was using for dispatching ambulances.”
A local woman contacted Mr Kilcoyne on June 14 following a three-car collision on the Ballinrobe Road in Castlebar. A patrol car was sent from Claremorris as there was none available locally.
It is understood the incident happened at 5.15pm. The woman’s husband phoned gardaí, who informed him there was no patrol car available in the county town. Thankfully, there were no major injuries.
Colm Cosgrave, of Cosgrave’s Garage in Castlebar, previously spoke about how he followed raiders himself after a burglary on his premises on May 13 as there was no patrol car available for 20 minutes.