More Garda station closures unlikely, says Shatter
There are unlikely to be any more Garda station closures in the coming years, according to Minister for Justice Alan Shatter.
The Minister said yesterday that while plans for next year and 2015 have not yet been prepared, further closures would not be on the agenda.
The recent closure of 100 stations has provoked a strong reaction in parts of the country with Opposition parties campaigning against the plan.
Sinn Féin and Dublin South Independent TD Shane Ross staged a protest meeting in Sandyford, Co Dublin, earlier this month in opposition to the closure of the station there.
Mr Shatter said that by the end of this year there would be 564 stations in the Republic, which was still a high number by comparison with other similar jurisdictions.
“By way of comparison, there are 83 police stations in Northern Ireland for its population of 1.4 million and 340 stations in Scotland for its population of 5.2 million. In the London Metropolitan area, 66 police stations are due to close, leaving 73 police stations open to the public,” he said.
Mr Shatter said a plan was prepared annually by the Garda Commissioner outlining proposals for the police service in the following year. “Among other things, these plans must include any proposals he has for the reorganisation of the divisional or regional network together with any plans he has for the closure of a Garda station.”
The Minister said he understood from discussions with the commissioner the consolidation process would be largely completed by the end of this year and it seemed unlikely there would be any closures in 2014 and 2015.
Mr Shatter said he felt it was best at this time to bring some certainty to the matter although it would be for the commissioner, using his professional judgment, to formulate proposals for the coming years.