Thomas Pringle TD

Pringle: Government must ensure Donegal receives fair deployment of gardaí

Pringle: Government must ensure Donegal receives fair deployment of gardaí

Independent TD for Donegal, Thomas Pringle, has called on the Government to ensure that deployment of gardaí to Donegal is fair and proportionate.

In response to Deputy Pringle today, during parliamentary questions to the Minister for Justice in the Dáil, Minister James Browne said 382 gardaí were deployed to Donegal in 2016; 386 were deployed to Donegal in 2017; 404 were deployed to Donegal in 2018; 460 were deployed in 2019; 462 were deployed to Donegal in 2020; and 449 gardaí were assigned to Donegal as of September 2021.

Deputy Pringle compared the Donegal figures to figures in Longford. Donegal has four times the population and is four times the size of Longford, but has a lesser proportionate number of gardaí deployed.

The deputy said: “And that’s a very worrying situation, in particular for my own area in Killybegs, in the southwest of the county. For an area that includes Killybegs, Glenties, Ardara as the larger towns, there’s basically two gardaí on duty in the whole area.”

He said that Donegal area serves about 30,000 to 40,000 people, nearly as many people as in Longford.

The minister said deployment of gardaí is a matter for the Garda Commissioner, but said he hoped additional gardaí going into training this year and next year would be distributed in a fair manner.

Deputy Pringle said: “I think a fair manner is the key to it”.

He said: “I would ask that you impress on the Garda authorities that deployment has to be fair and every part of the country has to be policed in the same way.” It’s important for community safety and confidence to see that gardaí are there and available, he said.

Deputy Pringle said: “I would ask that you seek assurances from the commissioner that Donegal isn’t being less policed than other parts of the country.”

Speaking later, the deputy said that while Donegal has four times the population of Longford – 160,000 people to 40,000; and is more than four times larger – 4,860 km2 compared to 1,100 km2; Donegal’s 2021 deployment is 449 gardaí compared to Longford’s 123 gardaí. Four times the deployment would give Donegal 493 gardaí.

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