CORK South Central TD Michael McGrath has called on the Minister for Justice and the Garda Commissioner to ensure that the three Cork Garda divisions receive a significant allocation on the 170 Garda promotions which were approved by Government yesterday.
The three Garda divisions in Cork (Cork City, Cork West and Cork North) suffered a net loss of 19 Garda officers at Sergeant level and above during 2009, according to figures released following a Dáil question by Deputy McGrath. The Minister for Justice, Equality & Law Reform has confirmed that he has received approval to fill 170 vacancies at Sergeant level and above throughout the country. Deputy McGrath has requested that the three garda divisions in Cork would be among the garda priority list for filling vacancies given the scale of retirements in Cork during 2009.
Deputy McGrath has been advised by the Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern TD that, at the end of 2009 compared to the end of 2008, the strength of the gardaí in Cork city and county was depleted by one Chief Superintendent, two Superintendents, two Inspectors and fourteen Sergeants. A large number of these vacancies arose due to retirements, with the vast majority of the vacancies remaining unfilled. At the end of 2009, there were eight positions unfilled in Cork City, six in Cork West and five in Cork North.
“There have been a large number of retirements in the Garda Officer ranks throughout Cork over the past year and a lot of these retirements have not been replaced. If this situation were allowed to continue, then I believe it would have a major impact on the capacity of the gardaí throughout Cork city and county to meet the growing challenges they face. I believe the gardaí in Cork do an outstanding job in very difficult circumstances.
“It is essential that approval is given to fill the key vacancies that have arisen in Cork during 2009. We must ensure that the Gardaí can put their best foot forward in the fight against crime, and this means that positions of leadership in the organisation cannot be left vacant for any longer,” said Deputy McGrath.