The Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has claimed he is unable to identify the cost of running any of the garda stations that he is now planning to shut down. In reply to Parliamentary Questions from Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Dara Calleary, Minister Shatter said the costs are maintained at a district level, so he does not know how much it costs the State to run each individual station.
Deputy Calleary has expressed his dismay at the revelation.
“Minister Shatter has attempted to justify his plans to shut down a number of garda stations across the country? How did Minister Shatter decide which garda stations to shut down as part of his ‘cost savings’ exercise, if he doesn’t know how much each station costs to run?” said Deputy Calleary.
“While I appreciate the need to bring costs under control, Fianna Fáil has said all along that the savings from shutting down rural garda stations are minimal. Minister Shatter has now admitted that he is unable to contradict me on this. How can he justify closing a particular garda station if he cannot explain the simple maths involved?
“Removing a local garda station from a community will have significant long-term social and economic consequences. Rural communities will be more isolated and more vulnerable without a station nearby. Criminals will no longer be deterred by a visible garda presence and it is likely that crime rates will go up in those communities.
“Minister Shatter’s anti-community policing policy is cause great of concern. The very least that these communities across the country deserve is a reasonable explanation for why he is shutting down their garda stations. It seems that right now, the Minister doesn’t have one.”