Gardaí on the ground have expressed their deep concern over the downgrading of the District Headquarters in Glenties .
The District Headquarters in Glenties is being amalgamated on Monday next and will be divided between both Ballyshannon and Milford with number of serving members being transferred to Killybegs and Milford.
The District HQ has been in existence in Glenties for over 50 years and has always maintained a 24/7 open door policy for West Donegal covering stations from Glencolmcille to Gweedore.
With the new arrangement all matters south of the Gweebarra will be dealt with by the HQ in Ballyshannon while north of the Gwebarra will be administered by Milford.
Several Gardaí have expressed their concern to this newspaper and have stated quite categorically that “it will greatly affect policing on the ground”
One Garda said, “The plan is to have a 24-hour policing service in the area but that does not mean that the Garda station will be open around the clock.
“Personal affinity with the Gardaí which has been built up over the years will suffer and be damaged irreparably. Take for example people on Aranmore Island or in Doochary, they will now be dealing with either total strangers in Ballyshannon or Milford.”
Another Garda added, “Local policing has always been regarded as one of the most positive aspects of the force where Gardaí were involved in practically every aspect of the community - sadly this has now disappeared.
“If someone in Glencolmcille has a problem they could end up having to travel to Ballyshannon.
“Of course there will be patrols but even resources in this area are already stretched. Rural crime and attacks on the elderly have become issues in the present climate - we cannot afford any more cuts. We accept that reform is coming but reform should bring improvement. This move is purely about saving money and not about improving the service to the people of Donegal.”