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State forsaking rural community

Madam -- In her article (Sunday Independent, April 22, 2012), Joanna Kiernan rightly highlights the fact that people living in rural areas feel unsafe and abandoned with the closure of garda stations. Even the Royal Irish Constabulary understood that Ireland could not be policed centrally when they established the current barracks structure. Without the forces of law visible in our communities fear will lead to people taking the law into their own hands.

There is, however, a much larger and darker spectre casting its shadow across the land, with the current government's programme of closing not only garda stations but also fire stations, post offices, schools, health clinics, libraries and military facilities.

There are now large tracts of this country where the state has absolutely no presence. This leaves law-abiding citizens feeling that the State is only a distant and irrelevant figure in their lives. In place of the State, as its apparatus retreats to larger urban areas, we are left with a people unable to access basic services, keeping loaded firearms beside their beds as criminals prey on soft targets.

Fine Gael and Labour should think long and hard before they continue their programme.

They might cost a bit to maintain but their removal will cost the State dearly.

Stephen Mather,

Rathangan, Co Offaly

Sunday Independent