Chief Superintendent Gerard Roche
ALMOST 20 different health and safety issues need to be “rectified immediately” or the garda station providing cover to Castleconnell, Annacotty, Castletroy and the surrounding areas could face closure.
The Office of Public Works and the housing section of An Garda Síochána have been asked to survey the “sub-standard” Castleconnell garda station as soon as possible.
The news follows a recent spate of break-ins in the area, including three separate break-ins at Castleconnell businesses during the early hours last Friday morning.
“I do want to put more gardaí out in Castleconnell but the challenge at the moment is keeping the station open because the accommodation is so poor,” Chief Superintendent Gerard Roche told a recent meeting of the Joint Policing Committee (JPC).
Last Thursday, he received a health and safety assessment of the station he “wasn’t too happy about,'' he told public representatives. The Chief Superintendent also received a list of “18 different issues that need to be rectified immediately to keep Castleconnell open.”
Following this, he wrote to the OPW and the An Garda Síochana housing section requesting they survey the site as quickly as possible, he added.
Major investment could be necessary to address the issues at the station, which include dampness and structural problems, Chief Supt Roche later confirmed to the Limerick Leader.
There have been calls in recent months for a new full-time station to cover Castletroy, Monaleen and Annacotty, which are currently covered by the Castleconnell station, a sub-district of Henry Street.
In response to a motion put down by Fianna Fáil councillor Jerry O’Dea at the JPC, calling for a new, additional substation for Annacotty and the surrounding areas, Chief Supt Roche said: “We are not burying our heads in the sand, we are looking at the area.
“Right now that accommodation (in Castleconnell) is worrying. I want to put more people out there but I can’t.”
A commitment to a new substation or full time station for the area cannot be given before the OPW and the housing section have made their assessments, he added.
“There is a whole suite of things that have to happen first. At the moment, I can’t commit. I need to get that station sorted.
“Can we afford to have a station in both Castleconnell and Castletroy or do we amalgamate them?”
In the early hours last Friday morning, three businesses in Castleconnell were broken into, including a studio, a restaurant and a cafe, after their front doors were forced in.
Nothing was taken during the incidents, a garda spokesperson confirmed.
At the JPC, Superintendent Derek Smart of Henry Street said the area remains “constantly on [his] agenda.”
“A big issue is that the area is beside the motorway,” he explained.
“The armed response units do patrol Castletroy but they also have to respond to calls. The area is constantly on my agenda.”
Later in the meeting, Superintendent Eamonn O’Neill of Roxboro Road said: “The road network doesn’t help us.”
“These people are professional in what they do. You are talking about organised gang crime,” he added. “I have no doubt that the burglaries in Castletroy and Annacotty are also linked to our division.”