Vice President of AGSI, Sergeant Paul Wallace
The National Vice President of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) has said the decline in the number of garda sergeant in Donegal must be addressed urgently.
The number of garda sergeants in Donegal has fallen from 65 to 39.
The Vice President of AGSI, Sergeant Paul Wallace said: “There is an accelerated recruitment campaign ongoing at the moment. However, two reports have stated that you need proper supervision for these young recruits.”
He said that when you are short in sergeants it means you are short in frontline staff and this could lead to future problems.
“The ranks order needs to be increased by the Government and the Department of Justice.
“They’re talking about increasing the force by 2021 but you need to have the correct supervision in place in order to maintain proper practice.”
Acting Garda Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin said that he is concerned about a shortage of supervisors in the force.
He said he had finished a tour of the country where he had visited every chief superintendent in their own divisions and said the lack of supervision had been a "constant refrain".
He was commenting on criticism of the shortage by the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors at its annual conference in Tullow, Co Carlow.
Association president Antoinette Cunningham told the commissioner the shortage had reached "crisis point".
The AGSI Vice President said that if you don't have frontline supervisors issues which have been experienced in the past may occur, a fact which is evident in the Higgins Report.
“Killybegs would be an example, it is the biggest fishing port in Europe yet there is no sergeant. In other areas in Donegal, you have the same situation.
“It is not good practice and that has been well documented. Young people need supervision, guidance and direction and in order for that to be achieved, we must increase the number of sergeants in stations across the county. That is how best practice can be achieved,” Sergeant Wallace said.
More than 150 promotions are required across the country to address the recent recruitment drive of hundreds of gardaí into the force.
The Letterkenny-based sergeant said that the work that gardaí carry out generates paperwork, some sergeants are expected to facilitate the paperwork of other stations which leads to a burdensome and heavy workload leading to stress among higher ranking gardaí.