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Gardaí in Sligo are refusing to operate from their station

GRA members say there are serious health and safety issues at the station.

MEMBERS OF GARDA rank-and-file organisation the GRA in Sligo are refusing to operate from the town’s main station this morning.

They turned up as normal for work today, but did not enter the building.

An alternative control room has been set up elsewhere in the town and gardaí have reported for duty as normal, the GRA’s Sligo-Leitrim representative Ray Wims said this morning.

Gardaí in the town have long been unhappy with conditions in the station, he said, citing serious health and safety and overcrowding problems.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Wims insisted several times that this was “not a protest” and that Garda management had agreed to set up a temporary HQ for the town’s officers in an OPW building on Chapel Street.

He said a report commissioned by the GRA from an independent engineer last year had detected serious health and safety breaches at the station.

A walkout was initially planned for October 2016, but Garda management had given some serious commitments at the time that non-frontline staff at the station would be moved to an external location, Wims said.

Officers were not happy with the progress that had been made, he said, and GRA members would not be re-entering the station in its current state.

He said the set-up at the OPW building was only temporary and that gardaí needed a longer-term interim workspace as they waited for a new station to be built.

The OPW confirmed at the start of the year that it was looking for a site for a new station. Speaking this morning, Wims said that realistically it could take 5 to 7 years for that station to be completed.

He said any calls to gardaí in the town would be answered as normal, as would 999 calls, and that cars were being dispatched to call-outs as normal too.

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