The Irish Examiner has learned Garda management is drawing up plans to disband the Kanturk and Cobh garda districts.
The plans are in their infancy but will reportedly involve the break-up of the Cobh district garda stations.
Under the proposals, Cobh and Carrigtwohill stations would in future be administered by the superintendent based in Midleton.
Policing in Glanmire will be transferred into the Cork City Garda Division and administered from Mayfield station.
Carrignavar, also in the Cobh district, will be carved up between stations in the city and Fermoy while Watergrasshill will also be administered by Fermoy.
Meanwhile, the stations at Ballydesmond, Millstreet, Boherbue and Rathmore, Co Kerry, will fall under the control of senior gardaí in Macroom.
The remaining stations in the Kanturk district — including Kanturk itself, Newmarket, Meelin — will come under the direction of Mallow.
If the proposal is enacted it could mean that administrative staff, and possibly specialist units, would be transferred from the current district headquarters in Cobh and Kanturk to other stations. Senior garda sources believe it makes far more sense to have Glanmire policed from Mayfield, as it is far nearer to the satellite town than Cobh.
However, the plan to have Cobh policed from Midleton has been criticised by Cllr John Mulvihill.
“As far as I’m concerned this is devastating news,” he said. “Cobh has already lost its District Court service to Midleton. We have a state-of-the art garda station in Cobh and I don’t see the need to transfer any staff out of it. I will be appealing to our four TDs in the Cork East constituency to fight these proposals tooth and nail.”
Meanwhile, Siobhán O’Neill, chairwoman of Kanturk and District Community Council, said she viewed the proposals as “further eroding of services in rural Ireland”.
“We have already seen our local community hospital downgraded by the loss of beds and there is a downgrading of the ambulance service also taking place.
“Now we are hearing that the garda station in Kanturk won’t be a district headquarters any more. It’s a continuous erosion of our public services. It is very worrying.”
Garda sources have indicated the proposals will have to be approved by the Government and put into the commissioner’s policing plan and it could take a couple of years before the recommendations are implemented.