THERE is a sharp difference in crime levels confronting the various garda stations selected for closure, according to new official figures.
Stations in Cork, Kildare and Clare are top of the crime table for those on the list.
The report from the All-Island Research Observatory group (AIRO) shows sharply different crime patterns.
Total offences in 2011 were highest in McCurtain Street in Cork (896), Mallow Road in Cork (395), Kill, Co Kildare (203), Lahinch, Co Clare (121), and Ballytore, Co Kildare (107).
The data was published as Justice Minister Alan Shatter robustly defended the closures across the country in the Dail.
He said choosing what stations to close was an "operational decision" by An Garda Siochana.
Not surprisingly, given their much higher population base compared to other areas affected, overall offence figures in the AIRO report were highest for the two Cork stations, including burglary and related offences.
Overall, the figures are broken down under key headings including drug offences, threat to murder, damage to property, fraud, public order offences, burglary, robbery and theft.
As regards burglaries, McCurtain Street and Mallow Road recorded a combined figure of 93, while Kill, Co Kildare, and Ballytore, Co Kildare, recorded 44 and 26 respectively.
Also high up the burglary list were Leighlinbridge, Co Carlow, and Kilfinane, Co Limerick.
Drug offences were highest in the two Cork city stations, with Kill, Leighlinbridge and Ballinspittle, Co Cork, next.
Meanwhile, the ongoing controversy over the planned closure of the garda station at Stepaside continued yesterday when the plan was condemned by a leading local businessman.
Dan Holland, chairman of the Sandyford and District Business Association, said there were over 23,000 people employed in the area working in over 140 firms.
He said his members have felt crime has become more of a problem over the past few years.