Thomas Pringle, independent TD for Donegal South West, this week called for the government to make clear their plans for tackling crime in rural areas.
During Leaders’ Questions on Tuesday, the deputy said to the taoiseach that recently published statistics showed, almost a third of all garda stations are staffed by just one garda, a further 88 stations have two serving gardaí, and 40 stations are without any permanent garda assigned.
“This should not be used as a reason to close stations, but to reconsider the ban on new recruits,” Deputy Pringle said. “Counties like Donegal, Galway, Mayo and many others could face massive closures because of this.”
The deputy said he knew of an incident in Donegal where a squad car had to travel 50 miles to a serious arson incident.
“We have already seen the closure of nearly 40 stations this year, with it being reported that up to 80 stations could face could face closure by the end of the year,” Deputy Pringle said. “This isn’t efficient. This is dangerous.”
The Killybegs-based deputy said he understood the Garda Commissioner was expected to complete his list of recommended stations for closure on foot of those statistics, “but what we need to know is what exactly is this government’s plan on tackling crime in rural areas, and how exactly can you equate less stations and less garda with more efficiency?”