Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill has said more garda stations across Co Donegal could face closure in the next few months after the Justice Minister Alan Shatter launched a fresh attack on rural garda stations.
Minister Shatter has confirmed that the closure of Doochary, Culdaff and Dunkineely Garda Stations last weekend, along with dozens of others across the country, is just the beginning of sustained attack on community policing.
Senator Ó Domhnaill has called on Minister Shatter to immediately clarify how many stations he intends to shut down in Co Donegal this year and the savings he has identified from these closures.
“Minister Shatter went to great lengths last year to play down the extent of garda station closures and the impact this policy would have on local communities. He said the number of closures would be ‘very small’ and there was no ‘reason for any community anywhere in the country to be alarmed’.
“But now it seems that the 39 stations Minister Shatter shut down at the weekend, including three stations in Co Donegal, were just phase one of a larger plan to target local garda stations for severe cuts this year.
Senator O’Domhnaill said Minister Shatter has serious questions to answer about the real savings to be made from these closures.
“He has attempted to justify this as a purely a cost-savings exercise and yet he has been forced to admit that he was ‘unable’ to identify the cost of running each of the stations that he has earmarked for closure. People are struggling to understand how he can he decide which garda stations to close if he doesn’t how much each station costs to run?
“Minister Shatter’s latest threats of garda cuts are causing a significant amount of fear in communities across the North West. In opposition, Alan Shatter himself called for extra gardaí in the community, claiming that areas of the country have become ‘lawless badlands’. He clearly understands the importance of a visible garda presence in the community and the serious long-term consequences of removing such a key local service.”