One hundred garda stations around the country to close their doors
SOME 100 garda stations will close as part of garda "consolidation" process, while the opening hours of six stations in Cork city are to be reduced.
The changes were announced by justice minister Alan Shatter this afternoon and include the amalgamation of 28 garda districts into 14.
As well as closing part-time and smaller stations, two large stations in the capital are to be shut.
Stepaside in South Dublin which has 34 Garda members and Kill O' the Grange in Dun Laoghaire which has 28 Garda members will both close their doors permanently with officers largely moved to Dundrum and Dun Laoghaire stations.
The Irish Independent reported last month that in many places where stations are boarded up, gardai will open occasional clinics in the likes of parish halls instead.
The closures are part of the Annual Policing Plan for 2013
The Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said today that the strategic reforms will “enhance service delivery, increase efficiency and streamline practices within the organisation”.
Most of the stations will be closed in the first six months of 2013.
The small stations to close include 10 in Galway, 9 in Kerry, 8 in Clare, 6 in Mayo, 5 in Donegal and 4 in Westmeath.
The consolidation of the 100 stations next year follows the closure of 39 stations in 2012.
Following the proposed station consolidation next year, there will be 564 garda stations in the State.
Fianna Fáil justice spokesman Niall Collins said the decision “confirms the worst suspicions of those who have accused the Minister of being soft on crime and soft on the causes of crime”.
"Removing the Garda presence from communities on such a large scale at a time when the rate of burglaries has increased significantly makes absolutely no sense,” he said.
“The presence of a local Garda station, however small, acts as a deterrent to criminals who target vulnerable households. In this announcement, Minister Shatter is stripping 100 communities of yet another essential local service.”