GARDA headquarters have identified twelve rural garda stations in county Limerick which could be closed as part of a nationwide cost-cutting programme, it has emerged.
Last week, Chief Supt David Sheahan admitted that a local strategic review group would be taking a “cold look” at which county Limerick stations could be shut due to financial restraints.
It has since emerged that twelve stations in the Limerick garda division have been earmarked for potential closure.
The identity of the stations has not been confirmed, however it is understood that small rural stations which have only one garda and no sergeant attached are particularly at risk.
Jim Carmody, Limerick spokesperson for the Garda Representative Association (GRA) said that rank-and-file gardai are “totally opposed” to the closure of any rural stations.
“This will have a profound effect, not only on the community but on our members’ ability to do their job. The local garda is the man or woman in the community who hears what’s going one and can take action. It’s very difficult to do that from a district headquarters”.
While Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has insisted that no decision has been made about where and how many garda stations will be closed across the country, Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan has asked chief superintendents to compile lists of stations which could be closed, amid fears that budget cuts could see up to 200 stations shut nationwide.
*A full version of this story was published in the print edition of Limerick Leader, dated October 1, 2011