7 stations in Cork to close & 2 district HQs downgraded
Fianna Fáil TD Michael Moynihan has condemned the fresh attack on garda stations in Cork, and has questioned why this region is being forced to bear the brunt of the cuts.
The Justice Minister Alan Shatter has announced plans to close 100 garda stations in the first half of next year, including 7 in Cork alone. These are Barrack Street, MacCurtain Street and Mallow Road in the city along with Rathduff, Ballinspittle, Adrigole and Meelin in the county. In addition to this Cobh and Kanturk District Garda Headquarters will be downgraded and stripped of its district HQ status.
Deputy Moynihan has described it as an ‘appalling attack’ on communities across the county. “Pensioners and those living in isolated rural areas who depend on their local Garda Station in villages such as Meelin are being left high and dry. This appalling attack will increase the fear and insecurity of those who are most vulnerable and already deeply at risk.
‘This is on top of the proposed break-up of the Kanturk Garda District, which is nothing short of a scandal. At a time when community policing has been recognised internationally as the most effective basis for preventing and counteracting crime, this is a backward move which will have far reaching consequences for the Duhallow region’, said Deputy Moynihan.
‘This is another example of the war this Government seems to be waging on rural Ireland, along with taking teachers away from small rural schools, closing rural Post Offices, delaying the Agri-Environment Options Scheme for farmers, instituting the onerous Septic Tank inspection regime and pilfering from our Community Development Groups.
‘And Duhallow, together with its ‘capital’ Kanturk, seems to be on the front-line of this war, from the proposed downgrades of local hospitals to the closure of Knocknagree Garda Station to this latest outrage which assaults the very identity of the Duhallow region. It is proposed that Kanturk Garda Station be downgraded and placed under the administration of Mallow Garda Station, along with Newmarket and Meelin, while Ballydesmond, Boherbue, Millstreet, and Rathmore, County Kerry will be shifted to Macroom Garda District.’
‘Kanturk Garda Station has been a crucial centre of law enforcement and crime prevention throughout Duhallow since the beginning of the State and the removal of its administrative status will severely increase the difficulty of maintaining law and order in the area.
“Cork has fared one of the worst in Minister Shatter’s hit list. Within the next 6 months, Cork will have 7 less garda stations and many of our communities will have lost their local station. Alan Shatter had warned that he was planning a second attack on garda stations, but even for him this is a shocking level of cuts to our local garda stations,” said Deputy Moynihan.
“The Minister sneakily announced this slash and burn on Budget day, hoping it seems that people wouldn’t pay too much attention. He is sorely mistaken. Removing the garda presence from our communities on such a large scale at a time when the rate of burglaries has increased makes absolutely no sense. The presence of a local garda station, however small, acts as a deterrent to criminals who target vulnerable households.
“In this announcement, Minister Shatter is stripping 7 Cork communities of yet another essential local service, and his casual attempts to soften the blow by offering social media gimmicks instead will not work. Suggesting to people who feel vulnerable in their homes that they could ‘tweet the gardaí’ or ‘find them on Facebook’ is nothing short of insulting.
“West Cork has been particularly badly hit with 3 station closures. People in towns and villages right across this region who were worried about crime cannot believe that instead of showing leadership, Fine Gael and Labour have sanctioned such a significant slash and burn of our local garda resources.
“I intend to strongly oppose the closure of Meelin Garda Station and all these closures and I am urging the Government Deputies across Cork to stand up for their local communities and do the same,” said Deputy Moynihan.