Galway West Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív has called on the Government to reverse its “dangerous decision” to shut down ten garda stations across Galway city and county this week.
Deputy Ó Cuív was speaking in the Dáil on a Fianna Fáil motion opposing the “underhand” reduction in garda numbers and cuts to specialised garda units, particularly in the Western region.
The stations in Co Galway to close this week are Kilconly, Menlough, Kiltullagh, Tynagh, Kilchrest, Kilcolgan, Leenane, New Inn, Shanaglish and Ballymoe. In addition, Gort District Garda Headquarters will be downgraded and stripped of its district HQ status.
“I have spoken to so many people locally over the past number of weeks who just cannot understand how the Government’s response to the surge in burglaries, thefts and violent attacks in this region is to close another ten garda stations in Co Galway and six in Co Mayo, and to further cut our garda numbers,” said Deputy Ó Cuív.
“The Justice Minister Alan Shatter needs to open his eyes and see what is going on here. People are fearful in their homes. They need a strong and visible garda presence in their communities to deter criminals and support vulnerable householders, not another slash and burn of community resources. Even Fine Gael representatives have themselves been forced to admit that this crazy policy will not result in significant savings.”
The former Minister continued to say that the closures would result in “dangerous gaps” in community policing, adding that the gardaí face “specific challenges in the line of duty every single day, and they need specific supports”.
“The total dismantling of the force cannot be tolerated. Let’s be clear about this. These cuts are Minister Shatter’s own political decisions and are not as a result of an agreement with the Troika or anyone else,” he continued.
“No one is forcing him to shut down 100 garda stations. No one is forcing him to target rural Ireland, and the West and North West regions in particular. No one is forcing him to make such significant cuts to garda numbers. Fine Gael and Labour need to admit they have made a mistake and support this motion.”