Gardaí in two Co Cork stations have been urged to walk out in protest against their Dickensian working conditions and the continued broken promises they endure from the Department of Justice and OPW to rectify the situation.
A senior Garda Representative Association (GRA) member said previous threats to take action, especially at the Macroom station, should be carried out.
“It’s the only way anything will be done for the gardaí stationed there,” he said. Both Macroom and Glanmire garda stations are in an accepted “deplorable state”, with the conditions highlighted at the recent GRA conference by the association’s central executive committee member Garda Michael Corcoran.
He said previous threats to walk out should be pursued and suggested it was time the GRA brought in the Health & Safety Authority (HSA) which had the legal clout to have the stations closed down.
The conference heard that a promise was made five years ago to build a new station in Macroom, to replace a totally unsuitable barracks first built for the then RIC in 1850.
Working conditions at the stations are archaic and cramped for the 40 gardaí and civilians working there, it was claimed.
According to the GRA, there is only one downstairs toilet /shower which has to be shared by both male and female personnel.
There is no fire escape on the upper floor and the wooden staircase leading to it has been described as a deathtrap.
The OPW made a promise to build a new garda station five years ago when gardaí, backed by the GRA, threatened to walk out.
In the intervening years, no visible signs of progress were made. However, in late 2014, the OPW reportedly purchased a site for a proposed new garda station and also a new fire station on the Killarney Road, close to the Millstreet junction.
The conference heard gardaí in Macroom are “now at the end of their tether” and if the station building was not progressed soon, they may well take action for health and safety reasons.
Conditions in Glanmire are also known to be dire. It also had been built to accommodate RIC personnel.
Garda Corcoran said if members of the public had full access to the station, other than just the public office, “they’d be appalled”.
Huge chunks of plaster have fallen off the walls, a wooden staircase is beyond repair and there is no fire escape available from the top floors.
Former GRA president John Parker had visited the three-storey building in 2011, at the time he was vie-president of the GRA. He had described the Glanmire station “as a deathtrap”.
He had criticised the fact there was no disabled access, no secure parking available for the patrol cars or members’ private cars.
A number of attempts have since been made by senior gardaí to secure alternative accommodation.
At least two suitable sites /buildings were identified in recent years. But they were subsequently ruled out as not being adequate.
Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald told the Irish Examiner a review of garda stations in disrepair was taking place and her department would be in a position shortly to comment on the future of the two Cork buildings, in particular.
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