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Retired Donegal Town Garda Sgt says there is no need for 24/7 station opening

“Gardaí need to be on the beat”

Staff Reporter

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Staff Reporter

Donegal Town Garda Station Latest: 'Reduced opening hours would mean more gardaí on the beat'

A retired Donegal Town Garda Sergeant says there is no need for Donegal Town Garda station to be open 24 hours a day, seven days per week.
Retired Sgt. Iggy Larkin was responding to recent revelations that Garda management is reviewing opening hours at the station and may end the station’s 24/7 opening hours status.
Mr Larkin, who spent a total of 39 years in the county, 17 of them in Donegal Town, says it’s his experience that gardaí are much more effective out among the people and on patrol and he thinks declining garda numbers are of much greater concern.
Larkin said: “There are a number of issues here but I honestly believe that there is no need for the station to be open on a 24/7 basis. What is actually much more relevant now is the fact that Garda numbers in the Donegal Town area have been decimated in the last number of years.

“The fact of the matter is that there are only 23 members stationed in Donegal in total - Traffic Corps and Detectives included. It is near to impossible to provide effective policing in such a large area despite their best efforts. 

“It is vital that these numbers are increased to enable members to do their jobs.

“In relation to a 24/7 opening I see no need for it whatsoever. From my own experience there are very few personal callers to the station in the off peak hours. In this day and age with all the mobile technology and connectivity the Gardaí are only a phone call away and on receipt of an emergency call can be on the scene quickly.”
He added: “To me it is much more important to have the members out of the office interacting with members of the local community, on patrol, be it on foot or on mobile patrol. “This, in effect, is preventative policing - visibility on the ground has had proven results. There would be a lot more presence on our streets and indeed along the rural back roads at night if Gardai were freed up from station duty.”
Continuing he said: “Once people realise that they can make instant communication with a member of the force it will alleviate all this controversy. I don’t like making comparisons but nobody expects to call in and have a chat with the Bank Manager or the shopkeeper at two or three in the morning.
“By freeing up members from station duty the service will actually be improved.”
Concluding Larkin said: “I cannot stress that the numbers issue is of much greater significance. I cannot remember specifically but back years ago there would have been 40 plus in that station - now we are looking at 23 members. This is a critical situation.
“We are looking at a large rural area where some of the smaller stations have been closed - this cannot continue.
“I am aware that a significant refurbishment is due later this year at the Donegal station - this is welcome but it is important to stress that buildings do not catch criminals, good policing does. This building must have all the adequate resources.”

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