Garda driven to scene of burglary by victim

A woman whose house had been burgled had to collect a garda from a local station because he did not have a patrol car.

The woman arrived to find her home in Co Donegal wrecked and a number of items missing. She contacted a garda at her local station in Newtowncunningham but was told he did not have any transport.

The woman drove to the Garda station a mile away and collect the garda to investigate the crime scene.

Sinn Féin TD Padraig MacLochalainn, who described the situation as unacceptable, demanded a meeting with acting Chief Supt Jim Sheridan.

“I am embarrassed for the gardaí and I’m sure they were embarrassed for this woman when this happened,” said Mr MacLochalainn. “It is simply not acceptable that gardaí do not have transport to answer an emergency call like this.

“We are seeking a meeting with the acting Chief Supt Jim Sheridan to express our concerns. But I will also be informing the Minister for Justice of the situation.

“It simply cannot go on that crime is being perpetrated and the Gardaí simply do not have the resources to combat it.”

A senior Garda source said there no garda car is attached to Newtowncunningham Station and that a patrol car was requested from nearby Carrigans Garda Station on foot of the burglary.

It is understood the garda at Newtowncunningham told the woman he could go with her in her car if she did not want to wait for the garda car to arrive.

The Garda Press Office declined to comment, and the country’s largest Garda staff association declined to comment on the specific case for operational reasons.

But association president John Parker said the Garda Representative Association had repeatedly warned that cuts in garda resources would impact on the service they could provide.

“The public rightly deserve a first class policing service but successive government policies have reduced the number of gardaí and the resources we need to effectively police the country,” said Gda Parker.

“Nearly one in every five garda vehicles has been withdrawn and not replaced due to budget cuts for the garda fleet over the past two years. It is set to get worse as more and more vehicles reach the end of their life and can no longer be maintained safely.”

Gda Parker said the Government was “committed to systematically reducing” the strength of the force to 13,000, that many stations had been closed, and more closures have been requested.

“This will remove the local garda from the community, and increasingly the people will rely on a response from the major urban centres,” he said. “We fear this will impact most on rural Ireland, but will negatively impact on resources available in the urban areas too.”


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