Mayo Roscommon and Longford is to be a new garda divisional area, that will stretch 150 miles long from Blacksod to close to Mullingar. It’s all part of a major shake-up of An Garda Siochana, details of which are being released today.
The operational changes are due to be introduced over a three year period.
1,800 more Gardaí are to be deployed to the front-line by 2021, as part of radical changes to the way the force operates.
Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan says the model being introduced is the norm in other countries and he's confident it will lead to a more agile and responsive police service.
800 additional members are being recruited, while 1,000 existing Gardaí are to be reassigned to frontline duties under this new model.
It aims to reduce administrative structures, introduce community policing teams and a greater range of specialised services for sexual, economic and cyber crime.
The number of divisions is being reduced from 28 to 19, meaning the majority of areas will be in divisions with neighbouring counties.
The number of regions will go from 6 to 4.
The union representing rank and file gardai GRA’s Mayo representative, told Midwest News today that it has serious concerns about the size of the proposed new Mayo/ Roscommon Longford Garda Division which encompasses two provinces and is over 150 miles long in parts. The main concern they state would be a resource one, explaining that they don’t believe that the current Mayo Division is resourced with enough members of Garda rank to adequately police Mayo and when the counties of Roscommon and Longford, which have their own policing needs, are added, its difficult to see this improving.
However Commissioner Drew Harris has dismissed this concern at national level.
He will travel the country now to try and sell the plan to members and communities.
Under the new plans, Garda divisions nationally will be reduced from 28 to 19 and Garda regions will go from six to four.
However Fianna deputy Leader, Mayo deputy Dara Calleary says he has found the details released so far to be “very concerning”, as he told Midwest News that the new division that Mayo finds itself subsumed into, is massive geographically.