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Dublin: 20 °C Monday 22 July, 2019
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Monaghan villagers left beyond the law by Garda cutbacks

Drummully in Co. Monaghan can’t be reached by Gardaí – because there’s no unmarked car to cross the Fermanagh border.

There are no unmarked Garda cars at Clones Garda Station - meaning areas connected by roads inside Northern Ireland are inaccessible.
There are no unmarked Garda cars at Clones Garda Station - meaning areas connected by roads inside Northern Ireland are inaccessible.
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE PEOPLE OF Drummully in Co Monaghan say they have been left beyond the reach of the law – because Garda cutbacks mean officers simply can’t get to them.

The border village lies a mere 1500 metres from Fermanagh – and is served by officers working from the Garda station in the county town of Clones, only a few miles down the road.

But the road linking the village with its Garda station, the N54, runs across the border with Northern Ireland – meaning that uniformed Gardaí in decorated squad cars cannot use it without prior consent from the PSNI.

Now the station’s unmarked cars have been assigned elsewhere – leaving Drummully effectively beyond the reach of its local Gardaí.

“The road to Drummully goes in and out of the North several times – the only way to get there is via the unmarked car,” local Fianna Fáil councillor Deirdre Kelly told TheJournal.ie.

“Now the area is totally without any cover at all.”

If a crime is reported in the area, the absence of an unmarked car means Gardaí have to take a longer route around local back roads – meaning that by the time they arrive at a reported crime scene, it is often too late to do anything.

“There was a 90-year-old woman robbed last Friday week,” Kelly said. “We had to wait 25 minutes for the Gardaí to come out.”

The area was already particularly vulnerable because of its proximity to the Northern Ireland border – beyond which Gardaí cannot travel unless ordered to do so by the Garda Commissioner, and permitted by the PSNI.

In the intervening time, another patrol car has been retired from Clones – leaving the area with even less coverage.

Monaghan County Council passed a motion calling for the return of the unmarked car at its latest meeting, and Kelly has written to justice minister Alan Shatter asking him to personally intervene, but to date no response has been received.

A Garda spokesperson said it would be inappropriate to comment on security and operational matters.

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Gavan Reilly

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