THERE were emotional scenes in Newcastle West this Tuesday as the local garda station closed its doors for the last time.
The district headquarters, which was officially opened on November 25, 1977, has been home to hundreds of garda members - of various rank - over the past 43 years.
Its closure will facilitate the demolition of the current building and the construction of a new custom-built multi-million euro garda station which will accommodate up to 200 garda members.
Once construction is completed, Newcastle West will become the county headquarters for community engagement under the new divisional policing model which will be rolled out later this year.
Serving gardai and members of the force who have worked in Newcastle West over the past four decades attended a ceremony this Tuesday to mark the official closure of the garda station.
Today marked the last day for the @GardaTraffic station in #NewcastleWest Our local Guards organised a fantastic community event to mark the contribution of everyone who has served in the station since in opened @opwireland pic.twitter.com/fPPFlUWabP— Patrick O'Donovan (@podonovan) August 4, 2020
Retired garda George Daly, who was the first garda on duty when the station opened, returned to lock the doors for the last time.
Chief Superintendent Gerard Roche was also present and says he's looking forward to overseeing the construction of the new station.
"This has been a very busy district, it's going to be a very place, under the new model the new station here in Newcastle West will be in charge of the Limerick county area which will encompass Bruff as well so there will be quite lot gardai and civilan staff who will be reporting in here," he said.
Former Justice Minister Gerard Collins (third from left) officially opened the garda station in Newcastle West on November 25, 1977. He's one of those attending today's ceremony to mark its closure. See https://t.co/pjtE6soqIc and this week's print editions for full coverage pic.twitter.com/g874sT2uEb— David Hurley (@DHurleyLL) August 4, 2020
During the construction phase of the new station, Superintendent Aileen Magner and the district administration staff will remain in Askeaton garda station.
The Newcastle West detective and drugs units will remain in Rathkeale and the Roads Policing Unit will continue to be based in Abbeyfeale.
An administration building near the entrance to the Demesne in Newcastle West will be open to the public between 7.30am and 9pm seven days a week.
See this week's Limerick Leader print editions for further coverage