Woman drives garda to crime scene

Wed, Jul 4, 2012, 01:00

A WOMAN whose house was burgled collected a garda from a local station to investigate the crime because he did not have a patrol car to drive himself.

The woman had arrived home at her house in Co Donegal earlier to find it ransacked and a number of items missing.

She contacted gardaí at her local station in Newtowncunningham but was told the garda on duty did not have any transport.

She then drove to the Garda station, which was about a mile from her house, and brought the garda back to examine the scene of the break-in. The woman discovered the burglary last week when she returned to her home in the evening.

Local TD Pádraig Mac Lochlainn (Sinn Féin) has described the situation as “unacceptable” and has requested a meeting with acting Chief Supt Jim Sheridan to discuss the matter.

He said he had no issue with An Garda Síochána and said his issue was with Minister for Justice Alan Shatter.

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

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

A spokesman for the Garda press office said they did not comment on third-party reports.

The Garda Representative Association (GRA), which represents rank and file gardaí, said that while it could not comment on individual cases it was concerned at shortfalls in resources.

Association president John Parker said his organisation had always believed cuts to Garda resources would affect the level of service provided.

He said the public had a right to a “first-class policing service” and that Government policies had reduced the level of resources that were needed to “effectively police” the State.

“Nearly one in every five Garda vehicles has been withdrawn and not replaced due to budget cuts for the fleet over the past two years.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.”

He said Garda numbers were being reduced to 13,000 from a high of almost 15,000 despite the GRA’s estimate that an 18,000-strong force was needed to meet policing demands.

The Government had already closed some 40 Garda stations this year and was planning more closures.

“We fear this will impact most on rural Ireland, but will negatively impact on resources available in the urban areas too,” Mr Parker said.