The devastating impact Garda station closures has had on rural communities

pac16 - Jan. 9, 2020, 11:32 a.m.

Since the year 2012 government budget cuts has resulted in the closure of 139 Garda stations around the country. On top of this a large number of stations are opening for a reduced number of hours per week. This has had a devastating impact on Irish rural life. More and more people in isolated areas are living in fear due to the these cutbacks to Garda resources in rural areas over the past decade. Gardai working in these areas have been left over stretched and under resourced leading to greater freedom for criminals to operate.

In 2015 a meeting of landowner to discuss the issue drew over 3,000 attendees where people shared stories about how they had been personally affected by crime. One woman told how she lives in fear after a previous break in, sleeping with a loaded shotgun next to her bed. Others spoke of the increasing sense of paranoia setting into communities outside of towns and cities.

One Galway community believes concerns over a lack of manpower in the force is causing a local gang to become more reckless. Residents of Knocknacarra were reported that local gangs no longer care if there are people in the houses when they break in. They have been committing crimes in the area for a number of years with little to no repercussions to their actions.

Many feel that the closure of rural Garda stations was indicative of the current Government’s attitude to rural communities and feel restoring a strong Garda presence in rural Ireland must be an urgent priority.