Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

'More patrols' as stations close

Justice Minister Alan Shatter said the closure of 95 garda stations will mean more gardai on the streets
Justice Minister Alan Shatter said the closure of 95 garda stations will mean more gardai on the streets

Garda patrols will increase after 95 stations are closed at the end of the month, management have claimed.

Rural communities are said to fear more burglaries and crime as a result but Justice Minister Alan Shatter maintains that the move will get gardai out of stations and into communities.

The mainly rural stations to be shut and the districts that will police each area can be found on garda.ie.

They include 10 across Co Galway, nine in Co Kerry and in the district of Sligo/Leitrim, eight in Co Clare and four stations in Co Donegal where several elderly people have been burgled and assaulted in recent weeks.

Another five stations will also close in the coming months under plans approved by the minister, on top of 39 closed last year.

Garda management and Mr Shatter maintain that the closures are not part of a cost-cutting programme but instead aim to get efficiencies through restructuring its service, along with changes to work practices including new rostering.

"The revised structures will continue to support our community policing philosophy through the clustering of services at policing hubs," said a Garda statement.

"The centralisation of services will facilitate the introduction of an enhanced grid patrolling system that will be operational and intelligence-led.

"This patrol system will ensure that a high-visibility and community-oriented policing service continues to be delivered throughout the country."

Benefits will include increased Garda visibility and patrol hours, increased mobility and flexibility, enhanced co-ordination of Garda activity and more effective use of limited resources across a wider area, the statement said.

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