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Other Questions - Garda Stations

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 754 No. 3

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 71.  Deputy Dara Calleary Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary  asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter  if he will outline on a [265]county basis the number and name of each additional Garda station that will close or will have its opening hours restricted during 2012, 2013 or 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6551/12]

Deputy Alan Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter The names of the Garda stations which are scheduled to close in 2012 have been provided to the House in the policing plan for An Garda Síochána which I lodged with the House last December. For ease of reference for the Deputy I am circulating with this answer a table containing the names of those stations together with the names of the stations which will have reduced opening hours. This is information that has previously been published and circulated.

In relation to closures in future years, the position is as set out in the Garda Síochána Act 2005. Under the Act, the Garda Commissioner must submit to me, by the end of October of each year, a draft policing plan for the following year. That plan must contain, among other items, any proposals the Commissioner has for the closure of Garda stations or for amending district or divisional boundaries. The Deputy will appreciate, therefore, that I cannot comment on the likely contents of policing plans for the years 2013 and 2014 as they have not yet been drafted. However, I have stated that I expect it is likely that the plan will include provision for some further closures.

Table A: Garda stations proposed for closure

Region Division District Station
Western Region Clare Kilrush Carrigaholt
Western Region Galway Galway Corrandulla
Western Region Mayo Beal an Mhuirthead Bellacorick
Western Region Mayo Castlebar Glenisland
Western Region Mayo Castlebar Tourmakeady
Western Region Mayo Westport Mulranny
Western Region Ross/Long Castlerea Loughglynn
Western Region Ross/Long Boyle Tarmonbarry*
Western Region Ross/Long Boyle Cootehall
Southern Region Limerick Askeaton Shanagolden
Southern Region Limerick Bruff Doon
Southern Region Cork North Cobh Glenville
Southern Region Cork West Clonakilty Castletownsend*
Southern Region Cork West Clonakilty Ballygurteen*
Southern Region Cork West Kanturk Knocknagree
Southern Region Cork West Bandon Ballyfeard
Southern Region Cork West Bantry Goleen
Southern Region Cork West Macroom Inchigeela
South East Region Tipperary Thurles Ballinure*
South East Region Tipperary Menagh Ballinderry*
South East Region Wexford New Ross Ballywilliam*
South East Region Wexford Wexford Baldwinstown
Southern Region Kerry Listowel Ballylongford
Southern Region Kerry Listowel Moyvane
Southern Region Kerry Tralee Clochan
Northern Region Cav/Mon Monaghan Clonibret
Northern Region Cav/Mon Monaghan Smithborough
Northern Region Cav/Mon Baileboro Tullyvin
Northern Region Donegal Glenties An Duchoraidh (Doochary)*
Northern Region Donegal Bally shannon Dunkineely
Northern Region Donegal Buncrana Culdaff
Northern Region Sligo/Leitrim Ballymote Bunnanadden
Northern Region Sligo/Leitrim Manorhamilton Drumkeeran
Northern Region Sligo/Leitrim Manorhamilton Kiltyclogher
Eastern Region Laois/Offaly Tullamore Geashill*
Dublin Metropolitan Region DMR South Central Pearse St Harcourt Terrace
Dublin Metropolitan Region DMR North Ballymun Whitehall
Dublin Metropolitan Region DMR North Balbriggan Rush
Dublin Metropolitan Region DMR East Dun Laoghaire Dalkey

* Non-operational

Table A lists four Garda stations located within the Dublin metropolitan region and 35 stations located outside the Dublin metropolitan region identified which are scheduled to close this year.

Table B: DMR stations identified for reduced opening hours

Division District Stations
DMR East Blackrock Stepaside
DMR East Dun Laoghaire Cabinteely
DMR East Dun Laoghaire Kill O Grange
DMR South Crumlin Sundrive
DMR South Terenure Terenure
DMR West Blanchardstown Cabra
DMR North Coolock Malahide
DMR North Ballymun Santry
DMR North Raheny Howth
DMR South Central Donnybrook Donnybrook

Table B lists the ten Garda stations identified within the Dublin metropolitan region which will have their public opening hours reduced in 2012 from a 24 hours service to being open between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. only.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary Does the Minister take independent advice apart from that given by the Garda Commissioner when he recommends station closures? Does he take advice from people in his party who are local representatives or from local community organisations? One of the stations that will be closed is Mulranny Garda station in my constituency of County Mayo, which is also the Taoiseach’s constituency. It is a small village but the opening of the Great Western Greenway will put some 50,000 people per year through the village. The Garda Commissioner, however, with the Minister’s approval, has closed the Garda station. With this extra volume of people — I hope there will be many more — concern is being expressed in the community about the loss of the Garda station which is now open for two hours a day. This does not make sense to the people of Mulranny. One might have made an argument for the closure of the station three years ago, before the Great Western Greenway was developed, [267]but not now. The same could apply all over the country. Does the Minister take independent soundings before he brings the argument in favour of closing Garda stations to the Cabinet?

Deputy Alan Shatter: Information on Alan Shatter Zoom on Alan Shatter This is a management issue for the Garda Commissioner. It is something that can be the subject of a conversation between us, but the Garda Commissioner has a statutory function in this regard. It would not be appropriate, therefore, for the Minister to designate or identify particular stations for closure.

The Deputy has made the case for closure. He is talking about a Garda station that is only open for two hours a day. Many police stations are in place for historical reasons; there was no overall policing strategy. They were built before all the modern systems of technology became available and before we had internal Garda communications systems or mobile phones. They date back to a time when there were not many cars on the road. If we are to provide an effective policing service, we must do it using modern technology and communications systems.

It is difficult to argue that a Garda station that is open for only two hours a day plays a major security role for any local community. What is important is that the local gardaí in the overall district know the areas of difficulty and are able to respond when an incident occurs or to prevent one occurring.

Deputy Dara Calleary: Information on Dara Calleary Zoom on Dara Calleary The Minister does not get it. He does not understand this is not just a security issue. He is living in Dublin. Any Dublin Deputy will not understand that more than security is at stake. In a village to which 50,000 people are brought every year there may be a greater need for security, although we hope not.

Extra information is available with which the Minister should be provided by the Commissioner independently. I accept that the Minister does not wish to involve himself in a management decision. However, he should consider independent views.


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