Gardaí refuse to work in Sligo station on health and safety grounds

The report highlighted serious issues including ‘rodent invasions’, an antiquated heating system and ‘third world’ toilet facilities

Rank and file Gardaí in Sligo are refusing to work in the town’s garda station on health and safety grounds. Photograph: Google Maps

Rank and file Gardaí in Sligo are refusing to work in the town’s garda station on health and safety grounds. Photograph: Google Maps

 

Rank-and-file gardaí are refusing to enter Sligo Garda Station due to health and safety concerns. Gardaí said on Monday that they are reporting for duty but will not re-enter the station which has been described as “not fit for purpose”, until the issues are resolved.

A planned walkout by gardaí in Sligo was deferred in October 2016 after commitments were given by Garda management and the Office of Public Works (OPW).

The threatened walkout followed a report by Michael Reilly & Associates engineers which found that the building was a fire trap, that it comprised a serious health and safety hazard and was too small to cater for the current workforce.

The report highlighted a number of serious issues including “rodent invasions”, an antiquated heating system, “third world” toilet facilities and cells that, because of their layout, presented a risk to Gardaí dealing with violent prisoners.

The Garda Representative Association (GRA) has said that services to the public would not be disrupted by their action and that all calls to the station and emergency calls would be re-routed to another off-site office.

GRA representative Ray Wims said gardaí would be on the beat as usual and would be in patrol cars, while officers would be working from government offices in Chapel street in the town.

Currently, anyone arrested in Sligo town and detained for questioning must be taken to Ballymote Garda station 15 miles away because the cells in Sligo have been condemned.

Local Fianna Fáil TD Marc MacSharry has said that the lack of action on providing a new station in Sligo was “in stark contrast to the cynical decision by Government to reopen Stepaside Garda Station in Dublin.”

The GRA deferred the planned walkout a year ago after being assured that some offices would be relocated and that urgent remedial works would be carried out immediately .

The OPW said at the time out that a new Garda station had been approved for Sligo under the Garda Capital programme and is to be provided under a Public Private Partnership.

It said toilets at the station had been refurbished and it had tendered works for the complete refurbishment of the cells at Sligo Garda Station under An Garda Síochána’s anti-ligature programme. Last month the OPW said the process of acquiring a site for a new station was progressing but negotiations were not yet finalised.

The GRA said that part of the station dated back to the 1800s. The building accommodates 140 gardaí and 20 civilian staff.