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New policing model takes effect next week

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CONCERNS Cllr Christy Hyland has reiterated his concerns over the new Garda policing model.

Reforms are ‘stripping’ away An Garda Síochána ‘layer by layer’ – Cllr Hyland

Anton McNulty

The controversial new policing model in Co Mayo will come into practice this Sunday, September 18, with two superintendents to look after the north and south of the county and another dedicated to serious crime.
The start date for the new policing model was confirmed to members of the Mayo Joint Policing Committee by Chief Superintendent Ray McMahon following a question on the matter by Westport councillor Christy Hyland.
The new model is based on recommendations made by the Garda Inspectorate and will see a restructuring that will result in fewer regions and divisions.
Chief Supt McMahon, who will be in charge of the new Garda district incorporating Mayo, Roscommon and Longford, explained that the largest step in towards implementing the full operating model will take place on September 18, but he added that it will be done in ‘a controlled manner’.
The Chief Superintendent confirmed that a new superintendent based in Castlebar will be appointed to deal with serious crime, assisted by Detective Inspector Denis Harrington.
A superintendent will also be appointed in Ballina to cover the north of the county with another in Castlebar to cover the south.
“The superintendents’ job will be to engage with the community-engagement issues at a local level. We have been given extra inspectors, and one for each of those community-engagement areas to assist the superintendents,” Chief Supt McMahon explained.
Inspector David Gibbons was recently appointed in Claremorris, while Insp Maria Hayes will take over in Westport and Insp Elaine Horan and Insp Ken Duggan will be in Castlebar.
Inspector David Tiernan will take over responsibility for Road Policing, while Insp Naomi de Rís will be based in Swinford, Insp Ciarán Diffley will be in Ballina and Insp Dermot Butler will have responsibility in Belmullet.
The meeting also heard that Superintendent Joe McKenna will be retiring from An Garda Síochána in seven months’ time.
Cllr Hyland, Cathaoirleach of the West Mayo Municipal District, appealed to Minister for Justice Helen McEntee to put a stop to the new reforms, saying it was stripping away 100 years of policing in the country.
“What the Garda Inspectorate are doing is they are stripping off layer by layer a force which served us excellently in the 100 years since its formation. This has to be stopped,” he said.
“An Garda Síochána was founded in the manner where they police the country with the permission of the people. In my opinion, the Garda Inspectorate will make An Garda Síochána an autocratic organisation where they had always worked with the people and the people with them.”
Cllr Hyland added that the Garda Inspectorate had ‘a dictatorial attitude’. “The Government can put a stop to this,” he said.