AN IRATE group of County Limerick residents have put their own stamp on the protest against rural garda station closures – they have removed the garda crest from over the door of their local station and replaced it with a hard-hitting sign of their own.
Staff from the Office of Public Works were left scratching their heads in Kilfinane on Monday morning when they discovered a white plastic sign on the spot where the An Garda Siochana insignia should have been.
Not ones to mince their words, the manufacturers of the sign penned the following message in black marker: “The Government may take our barracks but they are not taking our heritage. Plaque in safe place.” The message was signed: “KRAP - Kilfinane Residents Against Pr**ks.”
It is understood that the sign was screwed into the wall over the station door and is now in the possession of the gardai.
Superintendent Alan Cunningham of Bruff garda station said the matter is under investigation and has appealed for the return of the crest. “This is the property of the Office of Public Works and any individual who has taken it, we would urge them to return it to the gardai or the OPW. It’s not their property,” he said.
Senator James Heffernan, a native of Kilfinane, said that while he wouldn’t condone theft, he understood the frustration of those who took the action and who felt that it should be “kept in its rightful place – in the town”.
“It’s a bit like the rifles of old – put under the thatch to be used again and this sign is probably being kept in a good place in the hope that it will be used again.” Kilfinane station was closed last week as part of a major “consolidation” programme of the garda station network.