The Mayor of Donegal has said the closure of many rural Garda stations has caused long-term damage to community policing.
Cllr Gerry McMonagle raised the issue at the recent meeting on the Commission on Future Policing held in Letterkenny last week.
Speaking to Donegal Daily after the meeting, the Sinn Fein county councillor said the days of Gardai knowing people in their local areas was gradually disappearing.
And he said this was a huge disadvantage when it came to solving crime and creating a feeling of safety among our rural communities.
“This is not the fault of the Gardai. It is the fault of successive Governments in closing Garda stations.
“There was a time when Gardai lived among the community and if there was a crime then people knew their local Garda or knew where to go to contact them.
“The vast majority of rural Garda stations are now closed or only open very short hours.
“As a result of this people simply do not know their local Gardai or when to contact them.
“Very often when something happens and people go back to make contact with the Garda they have been dealing with, they will be told they are on or whatever.
“That personal contact with our local Gardai is disappearing and crime is increasing as a result,” he said.
Donegal’s Community Gardai team has been reduced from six officers to two.
Cllr McMonagle said that while the two officers in the team do trojan work, he feels so much more could be done to improve community liaisons.
“The two Gardai in the unit do their best and they get through a huge amount of work but there are only two of them.
“We need more Gardai in the community and to know who is in the community and what exactly is going on at grassroots-level,” he added.Tags: