BREXIT WARN­ING

Border con­fu­sion would cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties for crime, says top garda

The Argus - - FRONT PAGE - By MAR­GARET RODDY

ONE of the coun­try’s most se­nior gar­daí has is­sued a stern warn­ing as to the dif­fi­cul­ties which a hard border would pose for gar­daí in the wake of Brexit.

Chief Supt Christy Man­gan told the an­nual gen­eral meet­ing of the Dun­dalk Joint Polic­ing Com­mit­tee that while he had a plan for polic­ing fol­low­ing Brexit, it would take a lot of re­sources – re­sources which he didn’t have. ‘From a polic­ing per­spec­tive it will be very dif­fi­cult,’ he said.

He re­vealed that he was work­ing on a plan as he didn’t want to be left be­hind when Bri­tain leaves the EU on March 29, 2019.

Point­ing to the dif­fi­cul­ties fac­ing the force, he said that con­di­tions of garda sta­tions along the border were ‘dis­grace­ful’.

He said that Dro­mad Garda Sta­tion was in such a ‘de­plorable’ con­di­tion that he feared it would fall apart if he were to bring in ex­tra gar­dai to op­er­ate out of it, but he had no money to have im­prove­ment works car­ried out.

The sit­u­a­tion posed by a hard Brexit was ‘not pretty’, he warned, and he feared that politi­cians in North­ern Ire­land, the UK and Ire­land didn’t know what was com­ing down the tracks.

He said that ‘any con­fu­sion re­gard­ing bor­ders creates op­por­tu­ni­ties for crime’ and he pointed to the on­go­ing dif­fi­cul­ties with diesel laun­der­ing as well as the po­ten­tial for hu­man traf­fick­ing.

‘We need more clar­ity from our lead­ers,’ the su­per­in­ten­dent said.

While he had a plan for what was needed to po­lice the border af­ter Brexit, he said he has to de­pend on other peo­ple pro­vid­ing the nec­es­sary re­sources. If there were soft border, on the other hand, he didn’t think it would be too tax­ing.

THE loom­ing prospect of Brexit presents a sce­nario which ‘is not pretty’, Chief Supt Christy Man­gan stated at the Joint Polic­ing Com­mit­tee meet­ing in Car­ling­ford last week.

He feared that the politi­cians in North­ern Ire­land, the UK and Ire­land don’t know what is com­ing down the tracks and from a polic­ing per­spec­tive, he wanted that they will be fac­ing ‘a very dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion’.

‘I do not want a hard border. No one wants that with all the dif­fi­cul­ties and old mem­o­ries it would bring,’ he stated.

Any con­fu­sion on the border will cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties for crime, he said, point­ing to the on-go­ing prob­lem with diesel laun­der­ing, the re­cently dis­cov­ery of one of the big­gest il­le­gal cig­a­rette fac­to­ries in Europe, as well as the po­ten­tial for hu­man traf­fick­ing.

‘We need clar­ity from our lead­ers,’ he said. He re­vealed that he did have a plan for what sort of polic­ing will be needed af­ter Brexit, but it would take a lot of re­sources.

Point­ing to the con­di­tion of the Garda Sta­tions along the border, he branded the con­di­tion of Dro­mad sta­tion as ‘dis­grace­ful’.

‘It’s in very, very poor con­di­tion and if I have to bring in 20 guards to op­er­ate in this build­ing, and I’m be­ing very kind in call­ing it a build­ing, it would fall apart.’

He warned that the re­sources needed to po­lice the border would have a knock on ef­fect on other ar­eas.

How­ever, if there’s a soft border, he didn’t think it would re­sult in a sit­u­a­tion that would be too tax­ing.

He was re­spond­ing to a ques­tion from Vi­vian Mee of Ravens­dale Com­mu­nity Alert who had voiced con­cerns about the con­se­quences of Brexit for those liv­ing close to the border.

Cllr Anne Camp­bell asked him if he was work­ing with the De­fence Forces in com­ing up with his plans as she knew that they were de­ployed along the border for a num­ber of years to com­ple­ment the gar­dai.

She also queried if he had a plan for a hard border and a plan for a soft border, and asked if in­fra­struc­ture along the border was part of what he was con­sid­er­ing.

Chief Supt Man­gan again re­ferred to the con­di­tion of Dro­mad Garda Sta­tion and stressed that he had no money to carry out im­prove­ments. He said some of the sta­tions along the border were in ‘de­plorable con­di­tions’ and would re­quire a lot of money and im­prove­ments or else they should be closed, but he didn’t want to close them as they are wanted by the lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

He told Cllr Camp­bell that the gar­dai were work­ing with the De­fence Forces, with whom they had a very good re­la­tion­ship.

Cllr. John McGa­hon speak­ing at the Dun­dalk Lo­cal Polic­ing Fo­rum pub­lic meet­ing in The Four Sea­sons Ho­tel, Car­ling­ford.

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