A Cork North Central general election candidate claims just half of a batch of 20 new community gardaí positions promised last year have been filled.
Sinn Féin’s Tommy Gould made the claim on 96FM’s Opinion Line before an on-air law and order debate between presenter PJ Coogan and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
Plans for a community garda policing overhaul to help target antisocial blackspots in Cork were announced last April.
Last November, the Irish Examiner reported that Cork was to get just 14 of the latest garda probationers to graduate from the force’s training college. They were to fill full-time positions in Anglesea Street, Mayfield, Fermoy, and Mallow.
On top of 14 probationers assigned to Cork North and Cork City divisions, an extra 18 were temporarily assigned to Cork City.
However, they were later transferred out of the county at the end of December and sent to full-time positions around the country.
Mr Gould, a Cork City councillor, said: “I have been told from very good sources that, of the 20 or so new community gardaí promised, only 10 are in place.
“And of the new sergeants due to work with them, none of them have arrived, or so I am told. I expect existing community gardaí have retired or moved onto other areas of policing but as things stand, I am told there are not in place 20 new community gardaí officers.
“This shows that the whole community garda plan is in shambles. What was announced was just a PR stunt.”
The biggest allocation of graduates was to the Dublin divisions, with 89 of the 197 graduates being assigned there.
The allocation for Cork was also less than the numbers allocated to other areas, with, for example, 20 going to Cavan and Monaghan, and 18 going to Donegal.
Last November, it emerged that less than 3% of new garda recruits have been deployed to Cork.
Sinn Féin’s Jonathan O’Brien told the Dáil at the time that just 69 of the 2,800 new garda recruits had been sent to the city.
A garda spokesperson told the Irish Examiner they were looking into Mr Gould’s claims.
The pledge came from senior gardaí who outlined the aims and benefits of a radical Garda restructuring programme which is being piloted in the Cork City Garda Division.
The divisional policing model was among the recommendations of the Garda Inspectorate’s Changing Policing in Ireland report.It identified a range of problems with the current district model of policing where the local superintendent has full responsibility for a wide range of policing activity in his or her geographical area.