There are no plans to close Ballintra Garda Station, a senior garda has told a meeting in the village.
Inspector Denis Joyce was speaking at the re-launch of the Ballintra and Laghey Area Community Alert Scheme last Thursday night in St Brigid’s Community Hall.
When someone asked about the future of the station, he said: “I can definitely say that there are no plans to close the station. The types of stations that are closing are ones like Dunkineely and Clonmany, where there has not been a garda based for years.”
Garda Paddy Battle, who is based in Ballintra, told the very well-attended meeting the basic purpose of Community Alert is “to let the gardaí know if you see anything suspicious”.
Inspector Denis Joyce explained that Balllintra has the third largest catchment area of any station in Ireland and just one full-time garda, since the retirement of Martin O’Malley.
However, Ballyshannon Garda Station is manned 24/7 and there are several cars in the district which can be sent out to investigate incidents at any time.
Ballintra has relatively low levels of crime. Last year, there were eight break-ins in the area but, due to the quick actions of a local woman who rang the gardaí, a “major criminal gang from another part of the country” was arrested and two of the men served time in prison.
With the recent burglary of an elderly woman’s home in Pettigo, gardai are especially asking people to keep an eye on their elderly neighbours and their property.
There was also a spate of metal thefts, with copper wire being particularly targeted, and recent thefts of farm machinery and livestock in other parts of the county are causing concern, Inspector Joyce continued.
Most thefts and burglaries in Donegal take place during daylight hours and are opportunistic. This means that the vast majority of crime is preventable. Effective prevention measures including keeping doors and windows locked at all times in both houses and cars, have sensor lights, a dog and cattle grid.
Anyone who notices anything suspicious should ring Ballintra Garda Station during office hours on 074 9734002 or Ballyshannon Station 24/7 on 071 985 8530.