Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan-Monaghan Niamh Smyth has expressed serious concern following the downgrading of Ballyconnell Garda Station to a part-time service.  The station is now only open from 9am-9pm daily.

Deputy Smyth commented, “The reduction in hours at Ballyconnell is completely unacceptable and has caused anger, frustration and fear in the local community.  Over the past 6 years we have seen a number of Garda stations in the Cavan-Monaghan division shut under a rationalisation programme and locals are genuinely concerned that the downgrading of Ballyconnell Garda Station is the first step in its closure.

“Ballyconnell used to be the District Headquarters with a full time superintendent.  The decision to dramatically reduce its hours is bewildering.  It covers towns and villages including Dowra, Blacklion, Bawnboy, and Belturbet.  This is a large area to left without an unmanned Garda Station. Are people in Blacklion expected to travel the 58km to Cavan if they need to get in touch with a Garda now?

“As far as I’m aware, there was no official announcement that the Garda station hours were to be reduced – and it only came to my attention when a member of the public mentioned it to me.  People are understandably worried about a rise in crime as a result of the night time closure and I would like answers from the Justice Minister about the decision to downgrade the station.

“I will be writing to Minister Flanagan to outline my concerns, along with the concerns of local people, about this move.  I am also encouraging people to attend a public meeting in the Ballyconnell Community Centre on the 11th September at 8pm to discuss our next steps”.