Retaining the six Limerick Garda Stations which have been earmarked for closure will only cost a total of €12,000 per year, according to Limerick Fianna Fáil TD Niall Collins. Deputy Collins has received confirmation from Garda Headquarters that it costs just €2,000 a year to keep a small rural garda station open, as the properties are owned and operated by the Office of Public Works (OPW).
Deputy Collins was commenting amid fears that the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter plans to close the garda stations Doon, Shanagolden, Casteltown, Ballingarry, Galbally and Kilfinane.
“The latest indications are that at the very least, six garda stations in Limerick are to be shut down as part of a cost-cutting programme. However this makes absolutely no financial sense, as it has now emerged that it only costs €2,000 a year to keep each one of these stations open,” said Deputy Collins.
“It is quite obvious now that there is very little to be gained financially from shutting down these six stations. In contrast, there would be a profound impact on the communities affected. One of the most basic requirements of a sensible policing policy is the requirement to maintain a Garda presence in isolated rural communities. People are now deeply worried about effects of removing such an important and basic service from their communities. Given the negligible costs involved, they cannot understand why this is being considered.
“I am appealing to the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to see sense and reverse this decision. Now that I have established the minimal costs of maintaining our rural garda stations, I wonder how the Minister can justify shutting them down as a so-called cost-cutting measure? I am appealing to the Minister to take a more human approach to this, and consider the far greater costs to our communities of removing their garda service.”