Conditions at Sligo Garda Station have deteriorated even further since an examination of the building was conducted in May 2016, according to the engineer who conducted the surveys.
Frontline gardaí at the station walked out yesterday morning and have insisted that they will not return to the building until either substantial remedial work is carried out or the promised new station is built.
Members of the Garda Representative Association (GRA) made their decision based on the 2016 report commissioned by them from Tipperary-based consulting engineer Michael Reilly.
Mr Reilly visited the station again last Sunday morning, the day before the GRA members walked out.
In a report sent to the GRA general secretary Pat Ennis in Dublin he said the situation had worsened.
“As I initially recorded in my earlier report, most of this building should be discontinued with immediate effect because of very serious breaches of health and safety and in particular fire safety,” he said.
“Sadly, this situation continues and I am unhappy to report that conditions within the station have actually deteriorated since my initial inspection in May 2016.”
Mr Ennis listed a number of pressing issues:
“As I initially concluded, any factory or other working establishment within the State which chanced to operate under these third-world conditions would be closed down and the operators hauled before the courts and charged accordingly,” said Mr Ennis.
He said that, since his report 17 months ago, “works of little consequence” have been carried out to improve the “criminal working accommodations”.
Local GRA representative Garda Ray Wims said: “We have been left with no other option. We cannot return to that building until the issues have been addressed or there is a new station.”
He said local garda management arranged for members to work in a nearby OPW building on Chapel St.
Garda Wims said members were not protesting and were working as normal, but said the offices they were working from were emergency ones.
“It is temporary emergency building for a few days,” said Gda Wims.
He said they were waiting for management to come up with a “permanent interim solution” until the new station is built which, he said, could take between five and seven years.
He said they had deferred a walkout 13 months ago after an agreement was made with local management, but he said there was little progress.
Garda HQ has said they were working to resolve the matter, while the Department of Justice has said there was a programme in place for a new station.
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