Prefab Garda station in Co Louth ‘is rotting away’

Concern structure will not cope with extra gardaí traffic in event of hard Brexit

Drumad Garda station in Co Louth: “will not last more than a week” in the event of a hard Brexit. Photograph: Ciara Wilkinson

Drumad Garda station in Co Louth: “will not last more than a week” in the event of a hard Brexit. Photograph: Ciara Wilkinson

 

A Co Louth Garda station less than 2km from the Border has been operating out of a prefab which “will not last more than a week” in the event of a hard Brexit.

That is according to the Garda Representative Association (GRA) locally, whose concerns are echoed by Garda Supt Gerry Curley who said the structure “is rotting away”.

A hard Brexit is expected to require similar numbers of gardaí as the outbreak of foot and mouth disease did in 2001.

In excess of 100 gardaí had been stationed in both Drumad and in Hackballscross Garda stations and Garda Derek O’Donoghue –a GRA representative for the Louth Garda division – said “the current premises in Drumad, if it had 100 gardaí in it, would fall apart in a week with that level of traffic”.

There are 35 Border crossing along the Louth border: 14 are in the sub-district of Drumad which is just off the M1 motorway, and 18 are in Hackballscross sub-district which is west of Dundalk and borders the Carrickmacross Garda district.

Dundalk-based Supt Curley said the current conditions in Drumad station, “are not suitable for providing a decent Garda service in the area”, and the “portacabin there is long past its use-by date and has been there for 13-14 years now”.

Radiators off walls

“It is just not suitable inside, it is basically rotting away and it is not suitable accommodation for the members working there at present and in the event of a hard Brexit it would be in no way suitable whatsoever. It needs to be upgraded as a matter of urgency.”

It is understood that the floor has rotted away in a number of places and has had to be patched. Part of the roof needed to be repaired earlier this year and radiators have fallen off the walls.

The prefab was erected beside a large detached house which was purchased with the intention of being renovated into a modernised station but this never happened.

Supt Curley added: “My understanding is that there is no contingency in the budget for the next three years to do anything with Drumad.”

He also said there were concerns about the effect of a hard Brexit on Border policing and the issue of dissident republicans.

“There is no doubt that a hard Brexit could cause an upsurge in dissident activity because unfortunately those individuals seem to exploit situations like that.”