Border confusion would create opportunities for crime, says top garda
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.