Gardaí who threatened to walk away from Dickensian conditions at a garda station in a Cork suburb will soon be able to operate out of a modern facility.
The Garda Press Office has confirmed that a new garda station will open in Glanmire in July, although the exact date has not be revealed.
The news has been welcomed by the Garda Representative Association (GRA), which represents rank-and-file members of the force.
The current station, which is in what is known locally as the 'old Glanmire village' has not been fit for purpose for many years. It was originally built for the RIC and had fallen into serious disrepair due to years of neglect by the Department of Justice and OPW.
The conditions endured by gardaí working there deteriorated so much that eight years ago, then GRA president, John Parker, described it as “a deathtrap” and senior GRA officials have echoed his words on numerous occasions since.
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.
The GRA has also criticised the fact there is no disabled access, no secure parking available for the patrol cars or members’ private cars, or for the public.
In the meantime many attempts were made over the years by senior gardaí to find a site which would house a replacement building, but to no avail.
However, following talks in 2017 between senior gardaí, the Department of Justice and the OPW it was finally agreed to purchase a building in an industrial estate in Sallybrooke, half a mile north of the centre of Glanmire.
Work on fitting out the building is now nearing completion.
GRA central executive committee member for the Cork City Garda Division, Garda Padraig Harrington, said he welcomed the news that after many years of highlighting the poor conditions his members and the public were enduring they will at last look forward to modern facilities.
He said he hoped the new station would be opened within the timeline suggested by the Garda Press Office.
While it might be good news for gardaí and civilians in Glanmire, the same cannot be said in Macroom.
Three years ago the Department of Justice announced that it planned to build a new station in Macroom through a Public Private Partnership project.
However, although a site has been identified, no work has started.
GRA delegates attending their recent annual conference in Killarney, Co Kerry expressed anger at the lack of progress.
The current garda station, like Glanmire, was a former RIC barracks and was built in the 1850s.
Gardaí have to share just one small toilet and shower and there are no proper fire escapes.