Fianna Fáil will not commit to re-opening all closed garda stations despite promising to combat rural crime.
Although the opposition party have been highly critical of the government for closing garda stations across the country, they will not reinstate all of these stations and instead will leave the decision to the garda inspectorate.
Earlier this month Fianna Fáil accused Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald of “being in a state of denial” about the impact the closure of rural garda stations has had on crime.
Dara Calleary claimed she is ignoring the impact of the closure of 139 stations since 2011. But launching the party’s crime policy yesterday, justice spokesman Niall Collins said it would not be possible to re-open all of the closed 139 garda stations as some of these sites have already been sold.
Describing the closures as a “retrograde step” Mr Collins said communities had been left “completely isolated and vulnerable”.
But he said it would be up to the garda inspectorate to assess whether it would be viable or not to re-open these stations.
Senator Mary White said Fianna Fáil would commit to re-opening Stepaside garda station in Dublin if elected to power.
Ms White said it was “folly by Alan Shatter” to close the station and Fianna Fail are “100% committed” to re-opening it.
The party are now promising to bring the force up to 15,000 and will more than double Garda Reserves to 2,500.
Mr Collins said: “Fine Gael and Labour closed 139 Garda stations, saving a measly €556,000 a year while rural communities are left unprotected.
“This policy was extremely short-sighted and has increased rural isolation.”
Fianna Fáil would also provide for 3,433 new cars including 412 high-powered garda cars.
On the issue of re-opening stations Mr Collins said the garda inspectorate should be brought in to do an impact analysis.
“We know the impact of the area where the garda stations were closed where crime has gone up,” he added.
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