THE POSSIBLE CLOSURE of garda stations in Galway has come under fire.
Sinn Féin Senator Trevor Ó Clochartaigh told TheJournal.ie that if the stations were closed, it would be to the detriment of the areas in which they are located.
We have an issue at the moment that there aren’t enough garda cars to police the area[s]. If you close down a garda station, how are you going to police it? The other stations are going to have to cover those areas.
He added that there had been a number of high profile robberies over the last year in rural areas.
People are afraid that is going to increase if there isn’t an increase in gardaí on the beat.
Senator Ó Clochartaigh described the news as “part of the ongoing attack by government on rural areas”. He also suggested that the Garda Síochána look at “the [financial] wastage at the top of the system” instead of cutting rural stations to save money.
He added that measuring whether a garda station is needed to stay open by the number of crimes reported to it “is a ludicrous way of managing the efficiency of the station”
The Senator has called on the Minister for Justice to come and debate the issue with the Seanad, and was told after raising the issue in the Order of Business yesterday that the next time Minister Alan Shatter visits the Seanad he will be able to debate with him on this issue.
“I will bring it up with Minister Shatter when I get a chance,” he said.
The Garda Commissioner is currently assessing the potential for improved efficiencies in the structure and organisation of the Garda Síochána as part of the preparation of the draft policing plan for 2013.
Minister Shatter said on Wednesday of this week, in answer to two Dáil questions on the matter:
While I expect that the policing plan for 2013 will contain proposals for the further rationalisation of Garda stations and Districts, it would be premature, in advance of its submission, to speculate on specific measures which it might contain.