Gardaí have ‘no knowledge’ as to why they objected to planning permission for Cork greenway
4th May 2021
AN GARDA SÍOCHÁNA is looking into why an official garda email account filed an objection to a planning application for a Cork greenway.
The organisation has distanced itself from the objection, which was lodged under the name ‘An Garda Síochána’ and was sent from an official garda email address.
The issue came to light when a residents’ association contacted a garda station in Cork city centre to ask why An Garda Siochána had objected to the planned upgrades to a greenway in the area.
The association was told that senior officers in charge of community policing in the city knew nothing of the objection and could find no record of the submission.
An Garda Síochána has confirmed it has no concerns about the planned scheme.
At the start of the year, Cork City Council sought a public consultation regarding upgrade works to a greenway in the area. A number of options were being examined to address the safety of the section that runs alongside the Rochestown Road in Cork city, including improving the existing route.
At the end of the consultation, one objection, seen by The Journal, was submitted under the name ‘An Garda Síochána’ from an official email address and raised concerns about the proposal on behalf of gardaí in Cork.
One extract reads:
By erecting a boardwalk to the rear of these properties, there is an obvious and significant increase in the risk of trespass to the person and their properties. While the boardwalk will predominantly entice pedestrians and cyclists for exercise and commuting, there is the obvious risk of inviting undesirable and uninvited trespassers and anti-social gatherings to the rear of these homes that could be specifically targeted as the properties become more exposed and easier accessible [sic].
The unsigned document says that gardaí “cannot be in all places at all times” and goes on to claim that litter and graffiti could also be issues in the area.
On spotting the objection, which was publicly available following the consultation, the Rochestown area residents’ association approached a garda station to ask why An Garda Siochána objected to the planned upgrades.
The association was then told that the station had no knowledge about the objection, and confirmed it had no concerns about the plans.
An email, seen by The Journal, sent on behalf of a superintendent in the area, states:
An Garda Síochána have no objections to the Greenway upgrades and have had meetings with the council in respect of same. This office has no knowledge of the submission you refer to or as to who may have submitted same.
The Rochestown residents’ association has had a solicitor write to a garda station in Cork to seek answers about who submitted the document and why.
The association also wants to see if gardaí followed the rules around how members of An Garda Síochána are allowed to interact with public planning processes.
The letter cites various contradictions between what is in the letter of concern purportedly sent on behalf of An Garda Síochána and official garda policy, noting that the residents’ association “is at a loss to understand the position of An Garda Síochána in respect of its policies and objectives, as stated nationally, which would protect pedestrians and other public place users by separating them from motorised vehicular traffic”.
The Journal understands gardaí in the area have launched an investigation into the confusion surrounding the objection.
A garda spokesman said: “An Garda Síochána has a close working relationship with Cork City Council and where necessary make submission on public consultation programmes through official channels. No official submission has been made at this time.
“Formal submissions in relation to this are submitted through the Office of Chief Superintendent, any other submission is deemed a personal submission.
“An Garda Síochána does not comment on any personal submissions. “