Garda HQ has played down concerns over the apparent closure of a museum at the Force's training college in Templemore, after a petition was started online asking the Minister for Justice to intervene.
The petition, which as of today had almost 1,000 signatures, is asking to 'save the Irish Garda Museum' at Templemore, arguing that it has been closed "without any consultation" and just a few years ahead of the centenary of the founding of An Garda Siochana in 1922.
Some of those to sign the petition said they had visited the facility and criticised any attempt to limit public access.
However, the Garda Press Office pointed out that the Garda Museum is located in the grounds of Dublin Castle and while artefacts in Templemore have been the subject of changed arrangements, it does not constitute a closure and will still be open to the public once the current restriction imposed to limit the spread of Covid-19 are lifted.
A Garda spokesperson said: "Building space within the Garda College is continually reviewed.
The current collection of Garda Memorabilia based at the Garda College is being re-distributed throughout the College and will form part of a walking tour of the College to enhance the long standing community engagement role provided by the Garda College, when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted and visits/guided tours by members of the public can resume.
It had been reported by local media last week that Cathaoirleach of the local Municipal District Council, Cllr Michael Smith, was seeking an immediate meeting with Garda authorities to discuss the museum space, which is being used for training.
It's understood social distancing requirements caused by the coronavirus outbreak mean greater demands on and use of the space available at the training college for recruits.
One suggestion made at district council level was that the memorabilia could be housed at Templemore Town Hall, which is undergoing refurbishment.
Since it opened in 2002 the Garda College Museum has showcased a large collection of memorabilia from Ireland and elsewhere and has been regularly utilised by visitors to the Templemore campus.