Aontú rep for the Laytown / Bettystown area, Peter Whelan has told Meath Live he understands there were only four Gardai on duty in Navan station last Saturday night.

He alleges a female Garda was manning the station, another member was assigned to assist a protection detail at the home of Justice Minister Helen McEntee and two more were in the area patrol car.

Whelan claimed, “On Saturday night 10th December there were four Gardai on duty in navan station . These four Gardai were to cover the areas from Wilkinstown, Nobber , Navan , Lobinstown, Slane and Beauparc .

“One Garda, a female was on duty in the station . One Garda was on post with our minister for justice who resides in the area . This left two gardai in one patrol car to look after the above area. This on a normal night is a big ask . But In a week where people are partying with work parties etc , it is unbelievable and unacceptable .

“There was a murder in Navan which clearly could not have been anticipated, but still had to be dealt with and investigated. It also required the scene to be preserved.

“There was a major brawl in Navan town where three men were left unconscious. Garda resources had to be drafted in from other regions including Trim in Meath and Blanchardstown in Dublin . This was just to deal with the two incidents mentioned above . It also left the other regions short of personnel as a result of being drafted into Navan .

“I am very concerned for elderly people living in fear , knowing that when they ring the Gardai they will not arrive on time .”

Whelan goes on to say , “ In fact I’m very concerned on many fronts. Firstly the obvious concern is that of public order and the safety of the public. The other very worrying thing is the low morale in an Garda Siochána at present . There are Gardai leaving their jobs at an unprecedented rate , due to bad working conditions and stress .
“There have been calls by Garda representatives on many occasions for increased frontline Gardai  and the reality is members safety is being compromised.
“To give one example on Saturday night the lone female Garda had to deal with a very boisterous drunk man who was brought to the station by a taxi . The customer refused to pay his bill. The Garda was threatened physically by this man .
“It is not acceptable for Gardai having to deal with these issues alone in a Garda station on a Saturday night before Christmas or indeed ever.
“Aontú has written to the justice ministers office a few months ago , asking her to attend a public meeting to discuss the growing rise in anti social behaviour and lack of Gardai in her own constituency. We are still awaiting a response.
“We even left the date open to facilitate her busy diary. It is not acceptable to have four Gardai covering such a vast area . Aontú will not give up on our Gardai and the people of Meath . We are not accepting this crazy situation in the constituency where there are three sitting ministers in the government, including the minister for justice .”