Station closures will have ‘drastic consequences’

THE general secretary of the Chief Superintendents’ Association has warned the closure of rural Garda stations will reduce the flow of intelligence which is vital in preventing and solving crime.

Kieran McGann, who has just retired after 40 years in the force, said such a move “could pose the most serious challenge to the Garda Siochána”.

He “firmly believes” there should no decrease in garda numbers and no closure of rural stations.

“The importance of public support for the enforcement of law and order is vital and this can only be acquired by good public relations developed by the gardaí,” he said.

“These public relations involve the garda being on the beat, on patrol and available to the rural community as well as urban areas.”

He added it would be difficult to maintain these good relations by closing rural stations and replacing that presence “with more infrequent and anonymous patrols”.

Mr McGann said every effort should be made to keep community gardaí working in rural areas.

He also maintained non replacement of Garda vehicles could not continue if the force was to maintain its effectiveness.

He made his comments in the wake of news that Minister for Justice Alan Shatter is likely to announce the closure of a number of rural stations in the next few days.

President of the Garda Representative Association (GRA), which represents rank and file members of the force, said closing rural garda stations would have “drastic consequences”.

Garda Damien McCarthy said that “would create a safe haven for criminals”.

Meanwhile, hundreds of members of the Rural Garda Station Retention Campaign, are expected to protest outside the Dáil against the proposed cuts next Wednesday.

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