Policing snub fear for Mayo's county town

MAYO will have just two garda superintendents - down from six - when the new policing model is fully rolled out over the coming months.

They will serve two districts - Mayo north (Ballina, Belmullet and Swinford) and Mayo south (Castlebar, Claremorris and Westport).

In effect, Castlebar is in danger of being left without a superintendent based in the town going forward despite it being the busiest crime district.

The move away from one superintendent in each district is stripping away, layer by layer, a force that has served the country excellently for the past 100 years, Independent Councillor Christy Hyland told a meeting of the Mayo Joint Policing Committee (JPC).

The gardaí, he said, are losing touch with the community.

They had this new model in England but were now reversing it and looking to get the 'bobby' back into the towns and villages.

Councillor Hyland pleaded with the JPC chairman to get on to the Minister for Justice 'to put a stop to this'.

Chief Supt. Ray McMahon explained how the IT solutions which will allow the new operating model to happen will come into effect from September 18, which is a large step, though the transition will be gradual.

Business services will now take on 90% of the administration done by a superintendent's office.

From September 18, there will be a crime superintendent, and two new detective inspectors have been appointed, who will be dealing with more serious crime.

In the two districts, the superintendents will be engaging with local community issues.

The county, he added, has been given extra inspectors, with an inspector in each of the community engagement areas to assist the superintendents - Westport, Castlebar (2), Claremorris, Swinford, Belmullet and Ballina.