A public meeting of Roscommon Joint Policing Committee (JPC) on Monday night last heard there was concern in Boyle at the number of break ins locally with ‘people frightened in their home’ and ‘people afraid to go out in case they are burgled and afraid to be at home also in case they are burgled’.
The concern was contained in one of a number of questions submitted by members of the public to the meeting.
The question was elaborate on by PPN representative on the JPC Brian Nerney who said the main problem in Boyle was the reduced opening hours in Boyle Garda Station which had gone from 168 hours to 37 hours with the problem compounded by the reduction in Gardai attached to the station, and in the Roscommon area in general, which he said is adding to the fear as outlined. He pointed out that Gardaí were doing their best in ‘limited circumstances’ but questioned how was it possible for a reduced number of Gardai to properly police the “ridiculously” large geographical area Boyle Gardai had to cover? He suggested a letter should go from the JPC to the Garda Commissioner requesting more Gardai be assigned to Boyle and County Roscommon as a matter of urgency.
Gareth Scahill from Castlerea supported this suggestion and added that in that letter, additional Garda vehicles should also be sought for Boyle and Castlerea, but Chief Superintendent Ray McMahon said he believed there were adequate vehicles currently in operation in this area. The Chief Superintendent also said that he was constantly “banging the drum to get additional personnel” and he ‘would be disappointed if we did not get what is coming our way”.
Superintendent John Fitzgerald said with the overlapping of units, it may provide an opportunity to re-look at the opening hours in Boyle station but he was of the view that it was better to have Gardai out on the streets than “dealing with form filling etc which can be done by prior appointment”.
Cllr Pascal Fitzmaurice outlined how it took three hours for a Garda car to respond to an incident in Castlerea town recently and that was not acceptable. He said people are living in fear with a patrol car having to cover ‘from Cloonfad to Cortober’.
Superintendent Fitzgerald said since his appointment he had instructed that a patrol car would work out of Boyle and Castlerea on a full time basis.
In relation to the initial question on burglaries in Boyle, Detective Inspector John Costello told the meeting that they had identified similar type burglaries with the same modus operandi in a neighboring division and as a result of an interdivisional case conference, he was hopeful that the culprits would be brought to justice very soon.
Other items covered at the meeting included a presentation from the Roads Policing Unit, an overview of the new Garda Safe dispatch system, a breakdown on crime figures for the county and an a report on the recent Garda Youth Awards.
(Pic courtesy Roscommon Co Co shows Brian Nerney (PPN representative on the JPC), Councillor John Cummins, Councillor Tom Crosby, Shane Tiernan CEO Roscommon Co Co , Hazel O’Leary (Comhairle Na nOg representative) and Chief Superintendent Ray McMahon at Wednesday nights JPC public meeting in Roscommon)