Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Niall Collins TD has condemned what he described as Alan Shatter’s ‘jaw dropping cynicism’ announcing the closure of 100 Garda stations around the country during today’s budget announcement.
 
Deputy Collins commented, “Alan Shatter continues to treat the law enforcement community in this country, and vulnerable communities everywhere with complete contempt.  His downgrading of the security infrastructure across the country has been going since the day he took up office, but his decision to slip out an announcement confirming the closure of 100 stations, including two major Garda resources in Dublin, in the middle of the budget speeches, marks a new low for the Minister.
 
“This is jaw dropping cynicism and confirms the worst suspicions of those who have accused the Minister of being soft on crime and soft on the causes of crime. At a time when vulnerable communities everywhere are worrying about crime and looking to the Government for leadership, all they see is a sustained and continuing effort to degrade the Gardaí’s presence and profile in our towns and cities.
 
“Removing the garda presence from communities on such a large scale at a time when the rate of burglaries has increased significantly makes absolutely no sense.  The presence of a local garda station, however small, acts as a deterrent to criminals who target vulnerable households.  In this announcement, Minister Shatter is stripping 100 communities of yet another essential local service, and his casual attempts to soften the blow by saying offering social media gimmicks instead is nothing short of insulting.
 
“I will be opposing these closures and will be calling on the Minister to make a statement at the earliest opportunity.  I will also be asking the Justice Committee to investigate the cynical timing and nature of this announcement.”