Pressure on to keep County Limerick garda stations open

Norma Prendiville an

Reporter:

Norma Prendiville an

Garda
CHIEF Superintendent David Sheahan will attend a public meeting in Pallaskenry this evening where he will address local fears about the future of their garda station.

CHIEF Superintendent David Sheahan will attend a public meeting in Pallaskenry this evening where he will address local fears about the future of their garda station.

Meanwhile, he has confirmed that Askeaton will not be getting a new superintendent. “I don’t think that is a runner,” he told a meeting of the Joint Policing Committee last Friday.

And as fears subside about the fate of Pallaskenry garda station, county councillors have unanimously called on the Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence to stop closing rural stations.

The public meeting in Pallaskenry was called last week, just days before Chief Supt Sheahan gave a qualified commitment to keep the station there open. But local residents, keen to keep the pressure up, are going ahead with the meeting. .

Michael O’Sullivan, chairman of Pallaskenry Community Council, and who will chair the meeting, said: “We are hoping to get a commitment to put in a member of the Garda Siochana on a full-time and more permanent basis.”

Noel Nicholson, the Garda assigned to Pallaskenry retired earlier this year and no full-time replacement has yet been appointed.

At last Friday’s meeting of the Joint Policing Committee, Chief Supt Sheahan explained that one garda is currently allocated to Pallaskenry on a part-time basis.

Ideally, he said, he would like to assign a second garda to the area. However, he warned that with funding and recruitment restrictions still in place: “I wouldn’t hang your hat on that.”

However, the good news for Pallaskenry was offset when he confirmed to the committee what he told the Limerick Leader earlier this month, that combining the Askeaton and Newcastle West Garda Districts was “an option being looked at” . And on the question of appointing a new superintendent to Askeaton, he said: “I don’t think it’s a runner ... we’re not going to get a superintendent for Askeaton”.

But he stressed that a plan for “rationalisation” of local policing is still being developed.

This is likely to mean that Pallaskenry will have to wait until that plan has been decided before it receives the commitment it is seeking.

Representatives from Pallaskenry, Kilcornan and Kildimo met with the Chief Super-intendent this Monday night where he explained the situation but it is understood that he gave no indication of a time-scale for a full-time service in Pallaskenry.

Meanwhile, an incident in the village last week has sharpened local determination to maintain their Garda station. Shortly after 2.30pm last Thursday, a car crashed into a pedestrian safety barrier just metres away from the local national school.

The two young men and two young women who were in the car then abandoned the vehicle, posing a danger for parents arriving to pick up school children.

Nobody was injured but had it been a little earlier or later, there could have been more serious consequences, local barrister Emmet O’Brien said.

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