Minister and Commissioner invited to meeting to address Mayo policing concerns

THE Minister for Justice and Garda Commissioner have been called on to attend the September meeting of Mayo County Council to address concerns about how the garda operational model is impacting the county.

Mayo has lost its county-based Chief Superintendent and six Superintendents, and now the Joint Policing Committee (JPC) is also being abolished.

The JPC is being replaced by a new Local Community Safety Partnership (LCSP). Mayo County Council published an online notice inviting expressions of interest for a chairperson of the new partnership today.

At yesterday's meeting of Mayo County Council, Councillor Michael Loftus asked that the positions of Chief Supt. and six Superintendents be reinstated, as has occurred in other counties.

He requested that the minister and commissioner attend the authority's next meeting, saying the garda operational model is ruining the county.

And he called out the Oireachtas members who have allowed the LCSPs go through - the 'brainwave' of one individual in the Department of Justice in the middle of Dublin who knows nothing about this county.

Councillor Mark Duffy said it was another example of taking away autonomy, of centralisation, and he branded it a 'power grab'.

Councillor Harry Barrett agreed that they needed the Chief Supt. and Superintendents to be returned, and also for all the gardaí who have retired to be replaced.

The JPC was probably the best committee he served on over the years, noted Councillor Al McDonnell. It was an important forum in which to exchange ideas and express concerns to garda management, which were then acted upon.

What was being proposed was a retrograde step.

As for the Garda Commissioner, the councillor said he had 'absolutely no confidence' in him.