Latest: Facilities at Sligo garda station ‘absolutely inadequate’, says local Councillor

Update 6.28pm: A Fianna Fáil Councillor for Sligo Town has said members of the Garda Representative Association had "no other choice" than to engage in action over the serious health and safety issues at their station.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime Rosaleen O'Grady, who is also the chair of the Council's Joint Policing Committee said she hopes today's action will put pressure on decision-makers in the Office of Public Works to find an appropriate site for Sligo town Gardaí.

She said she "fully supports" those who have taken action, saying that the "conditions they are working under are completely inadequate."

"There was an assessment carried out last year for health and safety, and fire regulations which found that it was very inadequate,” she said.

“Even the canteen, the changing facilities, the facilities for people who would have to come in and be assessed, absolutely inadequate, the amount of stairs, the narrow corridors, I couldn't believe this was the Garda station serving our area."

Earlier:

Gardaí in Sligo Town are refusing to enter their own station today.

Up to 101 officers based in the building say it is overcrowded and unsafe.

Members of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) say they will not return until conditions improve.

A similar protest planned last year was deferred after commitments from Garda management to address the issues - but, 13 months later, the GRA says 'nothing substantial' appears to have been done.

Garda Ray Wimms, a divisional representative for the force in the Sligo Leitrim division, said: "Every member that is due to work this morning, is working. We want to ensure there is no disruption to our service to the people of Sligo.

"Every patrol car will be out and every call will be answered. There is a contingency implemented by superintendents so that there is an emergency control room off-site."

Garda Wimms said management have known about the problem for more than a year.

He said: "Well, it's regrettable we have found ourselves in this position because of the dangerous overcrowding and lack of facilities for the members in Sligo Garda Station.

"The GRA commissioned a report in 2016 and that was given to Garda management."

The Department of Justice said: "Sligo Garda Station houses the regional headquarters for AGS [and] is an historic building.

"Some refurbishment work has taken place recently and there is a programme in place to build a new station in conjunction with the OPW through a Public Private Partnership."


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