'Downgrading strategically located garda districts...is doomed to failure'

The downgrading of a key garda station along the border between Cavan and Fermanagh has resulted in police being unable to provide an effective service, frontline gardaí have said.

'Downgrading strategically located garda districts...is doomed to failure'

The downgrading of a key garda station along the border between Cavan and Fermanagh has resulted in police being unable to provide an effective service, frontline gardaí have said.

A garda representative for the Cavan-Monaghan Division was commenting on police resources as gardaí continue their investigation into the kidnapping of company director Kevin Lunney in Fermanagh and his detention and torture in Cavan.

Garda James Morrisroe said Ballyconnell Garda Station, which covers a wide border area, lost it status as a district headquarters in 2011, with the loss of almost two-thirds of its members.

The divisional representative for the Garda Representative Association said the number of gardaí was cut from 32 in 2011 to 13 and said “logic” dictated they could not provide the same police service as before.

“Downgrading strategically located garda districts, and taking community gardaí out of these areas, is doomed to failure and has been shown to be doomed to failure,” he told RTÉ's Today with Sean O'Rourke.

His comments come as Garda Commissioner Drew Harris arrives at the Slieve Russell Hotel in Ballyconnell tomorrow for the annual Garda-PSNI cross-border crime conference, where Brexit, dissidents and cross-border crime gangs will dominate the agenda.

The Garda Technical Bureau is continuing its examination of a horsebox, taken from Drombade townland, Co Cavan, in which Mr Lunney is thought to have been detained.

Sources stressed the result of the examination could take days or even months and depended on how clean the DNA samples were, particularly if the container was washed down with bleach to mask any evidence. Mr Lunney was doused in bleach.

Sources said the suspect caught on CCTV buying bleach at a shop during Mr Lunney's detention was not a major criminal, and did not have convictions, but may have associations with serious criminals.

Fianna Fáil's communications spokesman Timmy Dooley said he has asked Hildegarde Naughton, the chairwoman of the Oireachtas Communications Committee, to call in Facebook regarding claims from John McCartin, a director colleague of Mr Lunney, that efforts by him to have harmful content removed over the years had failed.

A Facebook spokesperson told the Irish Examiner: “There is absolutely no place on Facebook for threatening behaviour.

“Over the past few years, following reports, we have investigated and removed a significant number of posts about directors and senior executives of Quinn Industrial Holdings for breaking our Community Standards. We have also provided relevant information to QIH’s legal team in accordance with court orders.”

Ms Naughton said she had not received Mr Dooley's request but said the committee would need to sit and make a decision on it.

She said her personal view was that senior Facebook executives could be questioned on this, and other issues, when they appear before the International Grand Committee in Dublin in early November, a forum of parliamentarians across the world gathering to discuss the regulation of social media.

More in this section