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October 11th 2006

Townawilly Community Centre official opening - Ann Marie Martin, Kathleen McGinty and Eithne Martin,
who all worked very hard to organise the event. Pic: Barbara McGroary


Garda Reserve is needed
All over Ireland, voluntary labour is much used to run organisations and look after the sporting sector at every level. We owe those who provide their services for free a great debt. Every village, town and city in this country is inhabited by a small army of people whose only intention is to make a difference - no recompense considered. We could not function without them! The full-time professionals who lead these groups and organisations realise this and welcome the help.
Well, not all do!
Seemingly, two of the three police organisations do not want the Garda Reserve. The GRA general secretary, PJ Stone, said on the RTE one o’clock news, Saturday 1st October, that the new reserve would not be welcome and the recruits would be ‘despised and hated by the public’ - an extraordinary comment!
For too long in this country the tail was allowed to wag the dog. Governments capitulated when faced by strong union opposition and agreed to terms that crippled our economy and hamstrung our people for decades. Surely these days are over! Except for Sinn Fein, all parties in the Dail voted to bring in the new force.
Let’s state it plainly. The Garda Reserve is needed!
Take this town. Despite a large complement of gardai manning our station - when you take account of holidays, days off, sick days and rotas, shift sizes are at a minimum on any given day - if people knew the true size of manpower available at the crucial weekend early hours, in all precincts, they would be very worried.
Last Sunday week there was a fatal accident at Clar. The stretched Garda did their best to deal with all the ensuing traffic chaos, when a mile stretch of road on the main highway was closed. But not every junction on the detour routes could be covered, and motorists, strange to the area, were left meandering around country lanes, unsure of where they were. If a half-dozen reserves had been on call that day, they could have covered these puzzle spots. Just one instance where the volunteer force could prove useful.
The people want the Reserve - and it will not diminish in the slightest their respect and dependence on the full-time force. Every organisation has jobs that can be competently carried out by unpaid volunteers - indeed these people can add immensely to the overall dimension of its structure.
The garda force is no different. It would be a shame if any actions were taken that would make these volunteers feel unwelcome.
And secretary Stone’s comment should be closely studied by the revelant authorities - it sounded very much like an incitment to hatred.
This country has long depended on a strong, robust, honest force to protect us. Let us hope that this strength and intregity will be evident in the men on the ground standing up to their umbrella organisations and welcoming the volunteers into their stations when training is finished. It is the full-time members themselves in local barracks who will come under fire if this does not happen.


Could be weeks, or months, before decision
A spokesperson for An Bord Pleanala has confirmed that a decision on the retail development at the Mullans/Drumcliff which is being proposed by Bennett Construction Limited has been delayed again. The decision on the appeal against the granting of planning permission for the proposal, which was submitted by Keeney Construction Limited in April, was due to be decided before 11th October 2006, but it is understood that the Inspector appointed to assess the proposal has still not completed a report for the Board’s consideration. It is expected that it will be at least a few weeks, if not months, before the decision is now issued.

The Donegal Times, The Diamond, Donegal Town, Ireland

Tel: +353-74-9722860 Fax: +353-74-9722937


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