O’Brien calls for increased commitment to community safety in rural areas
Speaking following reports that Justice Minister Alan Shatter intends to approve the closure of up to 200 rural garda stations, Sinn Féin spokesperson on Justice Jonathan O’Brien has called on the Minister to increase his commitment to community safety in rural areas and ensure that rural dwellers are provided with the policing services that they need.
The Cork North Central TD said;
“Wholesale closure of rural garda stations in order to respond to an economic crisis is not the way to ensure that rural dwellers have access to the policing services that they need.
“It has been reported that 200 out of the 700 garda stations across the state will be closed. I am seeking clarification from the Minister for Justice on his plans for the number and location of garda stations in Cork.
“As we have seen with the closures of rural post offices and other services, it is the people of rural communities who are losing out, and who will need to travel to the next town or village over should they have any business in a garda station. There is no clarity as to how this would work on an operational level. Rural communities deserve better than this.
“It is absolutely essential that the Minister for Justice considers the impact that station closures will have the lives of older, more vulnerable residents who are living in what are very often isolated areas. We are seeking increased garda visibility in these areas rather than a decrease. The recession has seen an increase in burglaries alongside proliferation of cash-for-gold shops. This is not the time to be considering closing garda stations when residents in rural areas may need them the most.”