Ratoath robberies raise calls for Garda station in the growing town

A recent spate of robberies in Ratoath has led to calls for a Garda station in the area and an increased Garda presence.

The calls follow a robbery at the Tesco store in the village last night Monday and a robbery at a local bookmakers on Saturday.

Two men have been arrested following the robbery at Tesco on the Fairyhouse Road around 7pm yesterday.

Two men - one in his 50s and the other in his 40s, were being held for questioning at Ashbourne Garda station.

Meanwhile, an investigation is continuing after a raid on a betting shop in Ratoath at the weekend.

Gardai are appealing for information following the robbery, where a man armed with an iron bar entered the Paddy Powers bookmakers and demanded cash.

The robbery took place at around 1.40pm on Saturday. A lone male entered the premises carrying an iron bar and approached the counter, demanding money.

The culprit is described as around six feet tall, of skinny build and spoke with a Dublin accent. He was wearing a dark coloured tracksuit top with grey sleeves. He made off with a small amount of cash. The culprit left the scene on foot and went into the nearby graveyard.

Any witnesses or anybody who may have information that could assist Gardaí in their investigation is asked to contact the Detective Unit at Ashbourne Garda Station on 01-8010600 or the Garda Confidential Line on 1800 666111.

Local councillor, Nick Killian, who has an office at the Tesco Centre in Ratoath said the robbery was very concerning.

"This is one of a series of robberies in the village. I have been continually lobbying for a greater Garda presence in the village and more gardai on the beat.

"The provision of a Garda station for Ratoath needs to be looked at again.

"Twenty years ago, we were promised a part time Garda station by the then Commissioner, Pat Byrne.

"Since then our population has grown to 12,000, larger than either Trim or Kells.

"We need gardai more constantly in the village ."

Cllr Killian said he had recently been told by a senior garda that from the most recent cohort of Gardai graduating from Templemore, only two were allocated to the Ashbourne district, which stretches from the coast as far as Kilcock.

"I am calling on the minister for justice to persuade the commissioner to provide more gardai in the Ashbourne district," he said.