Fianna Fáil has labelled as “derisory” the less than €3m raised from the sale of 37 closed garda stations over the last five years.
The Government has confirmed in response to a parliamentary question, that it has made just €2.895m from selling off the stations which had been closed down.
That equates to an average of just €78,000 for the exchequer from each sale.
It also confirmed to Fianna Fáil’s justice spokesman Jim O’Callaghan that the annual cost of security and maintenance on closed garda stations last year was over €172,000.
“The fact that only €2.9m has been raised from selling off 37 garda stations shows that this is a very short-sighted policy development,” said Mr O’Callaghan.
“The purpose was to save the State a lot of money. Stations in rural areas are an important community facility providing huge levels of confidence to the local population.”
He criticised the loss of the stations for “such a derisory amount”.
Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has said the aim of closing garda stations is to promote “the more efficient and effective deployment of resources rather than to secure modest cash savings”. She said that Garda management concluded, in relation to certain stations, that resources could be better deployed and more effectively used on the front line if those stations no longer had to be staffed and maintained.
The IFA has said since the closure of stations, more people, particularly elderly, have become afraid in their own homes at night.
Jer Bergin, national treasurer with the Irish Farmers’ Association, said the presence of gardaí in rural areas goes a long way to restoring a sense of security to rural dwellers and communities.
“We recognise the need for a well-staffed, visible Garda force, equipped with the appropriate resources to carry out their duties and respond swiftly,” said Mr Bergin.
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