DONEGAL gardai have called for PSNI helicopters to be allowed to cross the Fermanagh/Donegal border to tackle the “plague” of dangerous driving and cross-border crime.
Earlier this month Brendan O’Connor from the Donegal Garda Representative Association (GRA), pointing out Donegal was isolated from the gardai’s own air support in Dublin, called on the PSNI chopper to be allowed to cross into the county in the event of high speed chases and in emergencies.
“Situations arise quite regularly with these vehicles that are failing to stop and they do pose a serious risk to life on both sides of the border. So we would see no reason why it shouldn’t be explored,” Mr O’Connor told Highland Radio.
“Air support comes without the complication of ground crews in relation to jurisdiction or fire arms carrying. It really is only an eye in the sky, gathering evidence.
“There is a precedent set. The Irish air corps helicopter was involved in fire fighting in south Armagh during the summer on Sliabh Gullion, and the RAF have over the years played a part in many air sea rescues in Irish jurisdiction, so surely it would make sense.”
Mr O’Connor said both forces could provide support to each other “and contribute to tackling this plague of dangerous driving, people failing to stop.”
“We’re in an era of cooperation and we constantly hear it being said by senior officers on both forces of its great benefits,” he said. “Criminals don’t recognise the border.”
Here on the Fermanagh side, Cllr John Coyle, who lives in Belleek and is a member of the local Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP), said the idea needed to be looked at seriously.
“The PSNI and An Garda Siochana have a close working relationship,” he said, adding the gardai should also be allowed to pursue chases into Fermanagh. “It would a progression of the work the two police forces have been doing together.”
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