Garda says the closure of rural stations has helped reduce crime
The closure of Garda stations in recent years has freed up more Garda hours and resulted in lower crime rates, according to Assistant Garda Commissioner, Jack Nolan.
Addressing an Oireachtas Committee this week, Mr Nolan said An Garda Síochána being part of the public service were asked to make hard choices in the very difficult financial years of 2007 – 2014
“We closed 139 Garda stations across the country. We also amalgamated 26 Garda districts into 14 bigger districts. We were also faced at that time with a significant attrition of our Garda fleet."
He said each one of the Garda station closures were carefully analysed and said "the rationale was could An Garda Síochána provide a service from an alternative location?," he said.
Mr Nolan also pointed out that the monetary savings as a result of the policy were quite small. “Over all about €1.5m per annum was saved by the closure of the Garda stations.” he said.
However, he highlighted not having to open those Garda stations generated 64,000 man hours available for patrol and presence in the communities.
“At a time when our numbers reduced by about 2,000 and our budget was also significantly reduced. We where able to maintain our presence in communities through those increased hours.
The result of the decision he said has been manifested in the last number of years with reductions in crime.