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Major Improvement In Roscrea Garda Manpower

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Major Improvement In Roscrea Garda Manpower thumbnailTwo new Sergeants were welcomed to Roscrea this week. Pictured (l. to r.) Sergeant Ger Harrington, Sergeant Mark Kelly, Sergeant Bill O'Dwyer, Inspector Seamus Maher. MT06598PJW

A VERY SIGNIFICANT improvement in Garda manpower was announced for Roscrea on Monday where two new Sergeants, with over 40 years of experience tackling serious crime between them, have been stationed full-time in Roscrea Garda Station.
Sergeant Bill O'Dwyer and Sergeant Ger Harrington have joined the ranks of Roscrea's Garda Siochana and have hit the ground running with a wealth of experience they plan to put to use improving policing in the Roscrea area.
Sgt Bill O'Dwyer, a native of Thurles with 24 years experience as a Garda, comes to Roscrea from Mountjoy Garda Station and his colleague, Sgt Ger Harrington, a native of Co. Clare, joined the Gardai in 1999 and comes to Roscrea after his previous duties as a member of the Thurles Traffic Corp.
The new Sergeants join Sgt Mark Kelly and his team of Gardai in the Main Street Garda Station, who have been lauded by the local community and community activists for successfully making great inroads into tackling what was becoming a growing drug problem in Roscrea over the last three years.
12 months ago Chief Superintendent Bob Noonan and Chief Superintendent Catherine Keogh visited a public meeting in Roscrea's Abbey Hall and told the people of Roscrea the town is safe and said the Gardai 'remain fully committed to Roscrea;' a message which was echoed a year later last Monday by Inspector Seamus Maher, who welcomed the new Sergeants to Roscrea Garda Station.
'The Gardai are fully committed to the people of Roscrea and Roscrea Garda Station is open for business and we are available to deal with any queries or complaints from everyone in the community,' Inspector Maher told a group of community leaders, local authority representatives and members of the local Chamber of Commerce.
Making reference to the issues which thrust Roscrea into the national media spotlight in 2014 when an impromptu protest was led to Roscrea Garda Station, Inspector Maher said 'those days are gone now,' adding that the Gardai in Roscrea 'are happy to speak with and meet people at any forum because community policing is key to our success.'
History looked set to repeat itself later this week when another protest march, organised by local community activist with ties to the Lowry Team, Shane Lee, planned to culminate at the Main Street Garda Station.
The crux of the protesters' argument centred on opening times of the Garda Station, which had sometimes closed to the public recently when a situation required all present Gardai to leave the Station to deal with an incident.
However, that protest has been called off after the announcement of two new Sergeants and guarantees from Inspector Maher that 'having two new Sergeants will ensure the doors are kept open.'
'If anyone has any concerns our doors are always open and any member of the public can speak to us confidentially,' Inspector Maher added. 'Both Sgt O'Dwyer and Sgt Harrington bring great experience to Roscrea which will be of great benefit to the town, particularly on issues relating to drugs and community policing.
'We will continue to support all the organisations in Roscrea who do a great amount of work. Today we can all start working together and there will never be a situation where one member of the Gardai is alone in the station to answer calls,' Insp. Maher said.
Inspector Maher, who has over 20 years experience tackling drug related issues in the community and was instrumental in establishing the drugs strategy for Tipperary, said a new roster system is currently in development to ensure that access to a member of the Gardai in Roscrea is available around the clock.
'It's not appropriate to have just one Garda on duty at any time in a town the size of Roscrea. One member of the Garda Siochana is not enough to deal with any serious crime and we are continually requesting more Gardai. We are quite satisfied with our strong numbers in Roscrea now and Roscrea is a priority for Chief Supt Keogh and Chief Supt Noonan,' Insp. Maher said.
'We are committed to working with anyone with issues on a confidential basis and we have experience working with people who have suffered intimidation from drug dealers. I'm on the Midwest Drugs Initiative and the Drugs Task Force and Sgt O'Dwyer will revamp community policing in Roscrea and has great experience in this field working in Dublin's inner city,' Insp. Maher said.
Welcoming the new Sergeants to Roscrea, local Councillor Michael Smith (FF) said the new appointments 'will be of huge benefit to Roscrea and its hinterland.'
'Clearly the commitment to the town is still there and I see you are within a heartbeat of the community. Staffing levels are almost back to the highest levels of 2008 and 2009 and we want to ensure this station is there for everyone in the town,' Cllr Smith said.
On the matter of the cancelled protest, Cllr Smith said 'there should never be a protest against our local Gardai and we must all work together.'
Community activist and Chairman of the Roscrea Stands Up movement which evolved from the Garda Station protest in 2014, Derek Russell, also welcomed the new Gardai to Roscrea and said the news 'is incredibly positive and people are very happy about it.'
'We are always very happy to work closely with the Gardai and we are totally in support of you and always will be,' Mr Russell said.
Secretary for the Roscrea Chamber of Commerce, Michael Madden, also welcomed the Sergeants Dwyer and Harrington to Roscrea and reiterated the issue of CCTV cameras for Roscrea - a very popular initiative which would see Roscrea receive a network of Garda cameras similar to those installed in Nenagh and Thurles last year.

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