A Joint Policing Committee (JPC) is demanding answers as to why, more than two years after a Government announcement, no progress has been made to replace a garda station which has been described as one of the worst in the country.
Cork City and County Joint Policing Committee is writing to the Office of Public Works (OPW) and Department of Justice seeking timelines for the development of a new garda station in Macroom.
In 2010, gardaí threatened to walk out of the station, built in the 1850s, because of the conditions there.
Local Fianna Fáil TD Aindrias Moynihan raised the issue at the JPC meeting in County Hall.
The Government previously said it was putting Macroom, Clonmel, and Sligo garda stations into one building programme. However, nothing has happened with Macroom, even though the land earmarked for the new station was purchased more than two years ago.
You can be full sure if things were advancing, one or two ministers would be on about it,” said Mr Moynihan. “The idea of bundling Macroom, Clonmel, and Sligo was to get them built cheaper. Macroom is sitting still for two years and figures show that by next year we will be at 2007 peak boom construction costs.
Chief Superintendent Con Cadogan, who is in charge of policing West Cork, told the meeting that he was none the wiser on progress. He said the land earmarked for the station is on the Killarney Rd and there are plans to build a fire station there as well.
JPC chairman Frank O’Flynn said the JPC had written to the OPW and Department of Justice on the subject last May and only received acknowledgement that they had received the correspondence, which he was not happy about.
Jason Collins, a member of the Garda Representative Association’s (GRA) central executive council and the most senior GRA representative in the Cork West Garda Division, said his organisation was concerned at the apparent lack of progress. Garda Collins pointed out that the issue was first highlighted in 2006, when an independent company hired by the GRA reported “third- world” conditions at the Macroom station.
“They basically condemned it,” said Garda Collins.
Since then we still have no fire escape for the top floor and there’s a timber staircase. The showering and toilet facilities are inadequate and there’s no protection screen in the custody area for gardaí who get spat at or attacked verbally or physically by prisoners.
He said that up to 18 female gardaí have had to share one toilet.
“Not knowing what’s happening is causing anger among our members,” said Garda Collins. “We will be meeting our membership soon to decide on what action may be taken.”