Garda station closures ‘make no sense’ – Butler

by Gazette Reporter
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Following the controversial closure of 95 Garda stations last week, local Fianna Fail councillor Darragh Butler has said “it makes no sense” to remove Garda presence in towns and rural communities across Ireland at a time when the rate of burglaries has increased.
According to Cllr Butler, Alan Shatter, Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence is “letting down” gardai and the communities they serve, and needs to “cop on” and reverse the recent closures.
“I’ve no doubt the presence of a local Garda station acts as a deterrent to criminals who target vulnerable households and properties. The value of a visible Garda presence should never be underestimated,” he said.
Dublin North saw Rush Garda Station close its doors in 2012, as well as the curtailing of station opening hours in both Malahide and Howth.
“The Minister is closing down Garda stations when there are not even enough patrol cars to use. I’ve heard cases where the gardai in Swords have had to cycle to Donabate as there was no car available. Not even Lance Armstrong would be able to get there on time if there was an emergency situation.
“Before the last General Election, Fine Gael gave the impression that Garda stations throughout the country, particularly in rural areas, were safe under Fine Gael. We now know this to be untrue. It makes no sense to remove the Garda presence from our towns and rural communities at a time when the rate of burglaries has increased and, unfortunately, Rush is a perfect example of this,” he said, referring to the recent suspected arson attack at a church in the town.
Defending the decision made by Mr Shatter, Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell said the closures are resulting in communities being “more effectively policed”.
“The current reforms being implemented are all about using police resources more effectively. Under a recently agreed roster system, gardai spend less time behind their desks and more time out in the community. This will see an additional 61,000 patrol hours dedicated towards community policing, crime prevention and crime detection.”
Cllr Anthony Lavin (FG) echoed the views of Deputy Farrell, saying that times have changed and “we need to progress”.
“Once the number of gardai we have remains at the levels they were when the reduced hours were introduced last year, I think we will get better protection. Gardai are out and about in communities helping to prevent crime rather than having to mind the Garda station.”

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