A single garda squad car has been left to serve two Kildare towns with a population totalling 6,627.
Garda resources in Kildare are taking a major hit with patrol cars not being replaced.
Rathangan recently lost its squad car to Kildare town after one of its vehicles was decommissioned. When a garda car clocks up over 300,000kms, it has to be retired due to a clause in the contract between An Garda Siochana and car manufacturer Ford.
It’s understood Monasterevin station now has to assist Rathangan, leaving a single patrol car to serve two towns with many rural outlying areas.
A spokesman from the garda press office said; “The allocation of vehicles is assessed by Garda management on an ongoing basis. In 2010, An Garda Síochána purchased 165 new Garda vehicles at a cost of E3,074,236 following a competitive tender. These vehicles are allocated to stations which have the greatest operational need.”
The Department of Justice and Law Reform commmented; “The Minister is fully satisfied that the Garda Commissioner has sufficient resources to meet current policing demands. However, the situation will kept under review while bearing in mind the economic situation. Our programme for National Recovery recognises that a key objective is the protection of frontline services, and the Minister regards that as a priority for the Garda Síochána in the current economic climate.”
With 1,500 gardai expected to take early retirement to avoid public service pension cuts due in February, garda numbers are expected to drop further.
Gardai have been told they must submit their intention to retire by November 28, although it is unclear how many will be eligible in Kildare, or how many will take up the opportunity. There is currently an embargo on garda recruitment and a ban on promotions to sergeant or inspector posts due to enforced government cutbacks.
A garda sergeant who has recently retired in Naas has not yet been replaced. A garda sergeant who moved his post in Rathangan has also not been replaced.
One of the sergeants at Leixlip Garda Station is due to retire in September, and it is uncertain as to when he will be replaced.