The former garda station in Newcastle West closed last August
MAYOR Michael Collins has called for the immediate re-opening of the garda station in Limerick’s county town.
At present, Newcastle West is without a station as the ageing premises in Churchtown Road closed, last August, after 43 years.
A new facility is being constructed in its place, but for the time being, members of the force are operating out of a temporary administrative building in Church Street.
But Cllr Michael Collins, who represents the town on the local authority, feels without a visible presence, Newcastle West is more open to problems, particularly with anti-social behaviour.
He has urged a start to work to build the replacement station – and suggested that the old location, where the new facility is being built should be scrapped and replaced with an out-of-town premises.
“I don’t think this is the right location. A garda station should be a high-visibility building on the outskirts of the town on the main road with easy accessibility for gardai to get in and out. I believe that site is too small,” he said.
Mayor Collins suggested a large warehouse could have been sought, and kitted out – meaning a quicker turnaround for the yet-to-be-started replacement barracks.
“There are plenty of idle buildings in Newcastle West,” he commented.
Off the back of not having a regular station in the town, Limerick’s first citizen says he has witnessed a rise in anti-social behaviour.
He said: “I'm getting it in the neck from people week-in and week out. I have witnessed a lot of anti-social behaviour in the middle of town.”
The mayor said he felt if there was a more visible garda presence in the town, this issue could be stamped out.
“The town is forgotten about when it comes to policing. We should have our station up and running,” he concluded.
At present, the garda detective unit in West Limerick is based out of Rathkeale station, while the force’s top brass are based in Askeaton.
The old station in the county town was deemed unfit-for-purpose from the point of view of health and safety.
The Office of Public Works is constructing a new station with the capacity for up to 200 officers.