Issues raised at recent meetings between councillors and gardai in the Kildare District range from difficulties constituents have getting through to garda stations to drugs and antisocial behaviour in the Linear Park and elsewhere; and concerns about burglaries, according to Cllr Fiona McLoughlin Healy.
Following the last Kildare Newbridge Municipal District councillors' meeting with senior local gardaí ahead of its monthly meeting yesterday, she said the meetings have proven to be a welcome opportunity to raise local residents and business concerns with gardaí and to engage on potential solutions.
"Although still woefully below the national average of gardaí per capita for the Kildare Division, I welcome the announcement of three new gardaí allocations to the division (the net increase is one due to transfer and retirement - but we’ll take any increase however small). And following feedback from these meetings, garda management made the case for and have had approved three new clerical staff for the division - one each for Kildare, Newbridge and Athy to help with administrative duties, answering phones and dealing with passports. This is very welcome news that will free up gardaí to focus on core policing activities," she said.
She thanked Superintendant Martin Walker and his team for their open and frank engagement and welcomed the new sergeants.
"Keep an eye out for some positive community policing initiatives coming to your area including ‘Coffee with Cops’ which is pretty much as it says on the tin, an advertised opportunity to meet with and discuss concerns with your local guard over a cup of coffee. And today, gardaí are asking people to come and meet them at their crime prevention stand in the Whitewater today," she added.
She also praised gardaí for acting on the drugs and anti-social behaviour issues brought to their attention in relation to the Liffey Linear park.
"I hope that the new South West Regional Drugs and Alcohol Task Force multi-agency strategy based on a model employed in Meath will help our local gardaí to manage this deeply worrying issue into the future," she said.
She also sent get well wishes to a local garda who was knocked down in the line of duty recently.