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Garda morale ‘on the floor’


STRONG WORDS Westport councillor, Christy Hyland.

Michael Gallagher

The current policing model is totally unsuitable and large numbers of gardaí are leaving the force. That was the stiff message delivered by Councillor Christy Hyland, a former Garda, at Friday’s meeting of Mayo’s Joint Policing Committee in Castlebar.
The Westport-based politician told the gathering that Mayo had been shorn of superintendents while ordinary level gardaí were resigning in large numbers across the country. He said those tasked with implementing Garda operating procedures ‘hadn’t a clue’ about the reality on the ground.
“Guards are operating with their hands tied behind their backs, and I know what I’m talking about. The guards are frustrated, the people are frustrated and young people joining the force are turning straight around and leaving again, but that’s no surprise when you see what guards are subjected to and the lack of support they get,” Cllr Hyland said.
“The morale is on the floor. It’s an absolute disgrace what’s happening to An Garda Síochána and the buck stops at the Government – nowhere else. Guards are having the hair torn out of their heads and being kicked and battered on duty while the thugs who do it go into court and play the system.
“These thugs and gougers swear they’ll be good boys and get a nice probation report before walking out the door with a suspended sentence while sticking their fingers up to the guard.”

Ballyhaunis to Westport
He then went on to highlight a recent incident in Westport where gardaí from outside the area had to attend a call-out in the town.
“There was an incident in Westport two weeks ago when a family called the guards. Amazingly, a car from Ballyhaunis was sent to deal with it. How long did that take? Someone behind a computer will tell us that’s ‘smarter policing’. Well, I can tell them, it’s far from it. People won’t tolerate such poor service where gardaí from Ballyhaunis have to come and deal with an incident in Westport. It’s time we stood up for our guards and told the Department of Justice and the Government to cop on,” Cllr Hyland stated.
Chief Superintendent Raymond McMahon said the force worked tirelessly to deliver a prompt and effective response at all times.
“We’re always trying to respond quicker, but there will be some cases when local units are occupied. In those cases, the dispatch caller uses whatever resources are available in order to respond as quickly as possible,” he added, before Cllr Hyland interjected.
“All you’re doing is complying with government guidelines and ticking boxes,” he stated.

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