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Galway faces decrease in county’s Garda numbers

Galway is facing a reduction in garda numbers as a dearth of new recruits will result in little or no additional allocation to the county next year.

A public meeting of the City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) on Tuesday was told that an unsuccessful recruitment campaign had resulted in just one-quarter of the target for new members being met.

Chief Superintendent of the Galway Division, Gerard Roche, told the meeting that just 50 garda recruits would enter Templemore Garda College this month, despite there being spaces for 200.

“The numbers going into Templemore are very low. There will probably need to be another recruitment required in the New Year.

“At the same time, we have retirements and even if we got 200 into Templemore this month – and it is looking more like 50 – by the time we get them through, it is six to nine months before they come on stream,” said the Chief.

“Next year, there will probably be nobody coming to Galway, or very small numbers if there is, and we are losing people,” he continued.

Chief Supt Roche said his predecessor, now retired Chief Superintendent Tom Curley, had stated that the Galway Division required another 50 gardaí, and he agreed with that estimate.

“The best we can do now is hold on to what we’ve got, but there are retirements,” he said, and while he would have to deny requests from members to transfer to other divisions, that was not an ideal situation.

Gardaí in Galway were dealing with in excess of 50,000 incidents per year, with just over 600 guards for the entire division which includes city and county.

Chief Supt Roche said the average coverage was 650 to 700 gardaí per head of population and taking Galway City as an example, there was 384 guards to one person at present.

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