Independent TD Mattie McGrath has said he shares the concerns expressed by the Tipperary Garda Representative Association (GRA) over plans to merge Tipperary and Co. Clare into a single Garda Division. Deputy McGrath went on to say that the rank and file members he has spoken to feel the proposal will prove highly detrimental and will further undermine the capacity for a more effective on the ground garda presence:
“To ask gardaí in Tipperary to engage with the single biggest re-organisation of the force since the foundation of the state at a time when staffing and resources issues are effectively hampering their work seems irresponsible and extremely ill-judged.
We have to ask where has this idea come from? It certainly did not come from those on the ground and who know their areas and what they need to deliver high impact preventative policing.
The pleas from gardaí that every TD has heard for years now is always for more vehicles, more hiring of civilian staff to free up numbers, better equipment etc.
Not once have I heard anyone suggest that we should merge Tipperary with Co. Clare. It is utterly bizarre and needs to be reassessed.
I understand that Commissioner Harris and other senior members of his staff will be conducting a regional tour ion the coming days in order to speak about the proposed merger to garda members.
They must take on board the very real concerns that members have and not simply copper-fasten these proposals. They must listen to what is actually needed,” concluded Deputy McGrath.