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Dáil to debate garda station closures as ex-commissioner criticises cuts

Former garda assistant commissioner Martin Donnellan questioned the cuts to garda resources as the issue will be debated in the Dáil this week.

Former garda assistant commissioner Martin Donnellan
Former garda assistant commissioner Martin Donnellan
Image: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

THE DÁIL WILL debate a Fianna Fáil motion calling on the Minister for Justice to recruit more gardaí and reverse the planned closure of garda stations this week.

The Private Members motion will be debated in the Dáil tomorrow and was scheduled last week prior to the shooting dead of Detective Garda Adrian Donohoe on Friday night.

Fianna Fáil’s Niall Collins said Donohoe’s death would bring an “added poignancy” to the debate.

It comes amid fears raised in the aftermath of Detective Donohoe’s killing that the cuts to garda numbers and garda stations – 95 will close by the end of January – are having an adverse affect on the ability of the force to tackle criminality.

Former garda assistant commissioner Martin Donnellan criticised the government’s plans to close 100 stations in total this year while speaking on RTÉ Radio yesterday.

Donnellan said that the “vast amount of information” that came from local gardaí would be lost in the communities that are being hit by station closures. He said the term ‘smart-policing’ annoyed him, pointing out that Ireland has no national DNA database.

He told the Marian Finucane programme: “The situation we have at the moment now [is that] the commissioner has to work with a thousand less men. We were told there two months ago that now they have only enough money to pay 12,000 men, there’s 13 [thousand] in the job

“I think it’s about time there was some kind of an independent view of the way we are being policed because we are reducing the police force by a thousand people. We’re told about this smarter policing, that really annoys me.”

The Fianna Fáil motion will call on the Justice Minister Alan Shatter to reopen the Templemore training facility to recruit more gardaí and reverse  the “attack on the physical infrastructure of rural Ireland and stop the impending closure of Garda stations across the country”.

Collins, the party’s justice spokesperson, said yesterday: “This week, 100 communities across the country will lose their local garda station.

“This is while we watch a surge in burglaries and thefts, a spike in violent attacks, and a deeply disturbing escalation in gangland crime and dissident activity.

“The Fine Gael Chair of the Oireachtas Justice Committee himself has acknowledged that the closure of community garda stations will not save significant resources, while communities across the country have been clear in their description of the cost of this policy to community safety.”

Read: Here are the 95 Garda stations to close by end of month

Read: Association of Garda Sergeants ‘heard about cuts at same time as media’

About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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