The news that the Government is selling 3 garda stations that it closed represents a raw deal for communities across Kilkenny, according to Fianna Fáil TD Bobby Aylward.

Deputy Aylward made the comments after it was revealed that the Government is to sell the former garda stations at Inistioge, Johnstown and Ballyragget.

“This news represents yet another loss for these local communities. Their local garda stations has already been shut down, and now the building which was once a focal point of the community is being sold off in a fire sale auction,” said Deputy Aylward.

“When the Government closed these garda stations it was promised that they would be made available for use by the local community. Unfortunately this has not happened and now the Government is moving to put these buildings in private ownership. I find it extremely difficult to accept that the Government could find no other use for these buildings that could benefit the local community.

“These buildings have been central to community life for decades, not only providing comfort and security to local residents, but also offering important ancillary services. The Government should have made every effort to ensure that the buildings are given back to the community and can remain at the heart of the community life.

“The Governments campaign of shutting local garda stations and dismantling community garda resources is fundamentally wrong. It is a further attack on rural communities, which have seen their local services cut right left and centre over the past two years. The closure of local garda stations, court houses, libraries, bank branches, credit unions, post offices and the clear lack of support for local based enterprise all amounts to a significant withdrawal of services from rural communities. Communities in Kilkenny will see the loss of their garda station buildings as yet another nail in the coffin for rural Ireland” said Deputy Aylward.