The decision by the Justice Minister Alan Shatter to cut garda services particularly in rural communities makes no sense, according to Fianna Fáil Justice spokesperson Dara Calleary.


Deputy Calleary was reacting to confirmation that Minister Shatter is to shut down 31 garda stations across the country, including 16 in the West and North West, 10 in the Southern region, and 5 in the greater Dublin area and Eastern region.


 “Minister Shatter’s policy is completely flawed,” said Deputy Calleary. “Closing these stations makes no sense, economically or socially. However there will be a profound impact on the communities directly affected.


“I welcome the Garda Commissioner’s statement that garda authorities will engage with communities about their policing needs and an effective policing strategy. I am calling on Minister Shatter to adopt a similar level of engagement.


“I am particularly concerned that there is a rural bias in these closures. More than half of the stations being shut down are in the Connacht/Ulster region. This, along with to the severe reduction in funds for the community alert scheme, are a particular challenge for rural communities.


“I also want the Minister to clarify what services will be a available to those communities whose garda stations will face a reduction in opening hours. The communities are wondering if they will still be able to report crime and seek assistance between the hours of 10pm and 8am.”