Fears for 24 Garda stations

More than half the Garda stations in Donegal could be closed as part of government budget cuts.

More than half the Garda stations in Donegal could be closed as part of government budget cuts.

Twenty-four garda stations in Donegal have been earmarked for possible closure after Garda chief superintendents were asked to draw up lists of possible stations that could be closed. Small and part time stations are seen as being particularly at risk.

The 24 stations in Donegal are some of around 200 nationally that face closure.

The chair of the county’s joint policing committee, Cllr. Patrick McGowan, has called for an urgent meeting with the Chief Superintendent Terry McGinn to discuss the situation.

He said he was in especially concerned about security along the county’s border being weakened by the closure of Garda stations.

“There is a fear that this would reduce the number of guards in Donegal and when they close stations these guards will be diverted to more urban areas and leave Donegal with a skeleton cover,” he said.

He said a special case has to be made for Donegal. “We are not linked up with the rest of the country. We are so far from the rest of the country we can’t bring numbers from neighbouring counties easily. We do have a good relationship with the PSNI but Donegal is unique.”

Donegal North East TD, Padraig MacLochlainn said he hoped to raise the issue in a special motion in the Dáil. “I want to get the minister for justice into the chamber because I am very alarmed about this,” he said. “The minister will try and hide behind the garda commissioner and we are not going to allow that. This is a government directive to save money. The social implications of losing a Garda station would have a very serious impact across our rural areas. We know we are going to see garda numbers reduced because there are large number of retirements that are not going to be replaced because of the moratorium and now there is an agenda to close garda stations.”