Monday 23 September 2019

Gardaí refuse to enter station claiming health and safety hazards

Sligo Garda Station
Sligo Garda Station
The station has inadequate room to store evidence and files

Sasha Brady

Gardaí in Sligo Town will refuse to enter their own station today claiming the building is a health and safety hazard.

Rank and file Gardaí have refused to enter the station on Pearse Road since 7am due to "overcrowding" and "unsafe" conditions.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Garda Ray Wims, Divisional Representative for Sligo/Leitrim, said there will be no disruption to services and Gardaí will work in an emergency control room off site on Chapel Street.

Garda Whims insisted that this is "not a protest".

"Every member that's due to work this morning is working, every patrol car will be out, every call will be answered," he said.

An independent engineer's report last year, commissioned by the Garda Representative Association (GRA), found that the building is unfit for purpose.

The station has inadequate room to store evidence and files
The station has inadequate room to store evidence and files

The report pointed out that the only solution was the building of a new station on a green field site.

In August, Minister of State Kevin 'Boxer' Moran pledged to announce a new site for the station in September but no site has yet been announced, and the GRA said conditions have deterioated.

Minister Moran told The Sligo Champion at the time: "The present station in Sligo is overcrowded. The Gardaí currently working there and the people of Sligo won't have long more to wait, three to four weeks maximum, we'll have a new green field site and we'll get the show on the road."

Sligo Garda Station acts as the Divisional Headquarters for Sligo/Leitrim and a Divisional Headquarters for Sligo/Leitrim, Donegal, Cavan/Monaghan and Louth Divisions.

A walkout was threatened last October but it was avoided at the last minute after senior management agreed to come up with some short term solutions to health and safety issues.

Garda Wims said that officers were not happy with the lack of progress on the issue.

Garda Wims said there is funding in place to build a new Garda station but added that it would realistically take between five and seven years to be completed.

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