THE damage to local law enforcement due to cuts to garda numbers was raised with Portlaoise’s most senior garda.
At the town’s Joint Policing Committee last Tuesday, Councillors asked Superintendent Philip Lyons how gardaí in Laois would cope with the retirement of senior officers and the recruitment ban.
“There will be many retirements in Portlaoise, but we need to ensure that there are a safe number of guards on the streets,” said Cllr Catherine Fitzgerald. “How will the gardai cope with this?”
Cllr Willie Aird agreed with his colleague and praised the local gardai as being “very proactive”.
“We have to keep the gardai at a level that’s effective. With all these retirements, it’s most important that all the good work that’s been done is made available to the people coming in after them,” said Cllr Aird
Supt Lyons pointed out that there is set to be an eight percent reduction in garda figures countrywide, although he acknowledged that Portlaoise may have taken more than its fair share of a hit due to the age profile of local officers. The superintendent went on to say that there would be transfers and appointments to replace the people leaving, and he assured the meeting that the gardaí would continue to operate to the highest standard.
“We have to just take (the reduction),” he said.