Low crime rate could see the loss of several Garda Stations in Louth

Ian Cameron

Reporter:

Ian Cameron

Reports this week suggest that several Garda Stations in Louth could face closure as punishment for not having high enough number of crimes committed in their areas

Reports this week suggest that several Garda Stations in Louth could face closure as punishment for not having high enough number of crimes committed in their areas

Louth Village recorded just 85 crimes in 2011, while Collon recorded 70 offences, while Hackballscross recorded just 68.

While the low crime rate is good news for people living locally, it could ultimately be bad news if stations close.

County Councillor Jim Lennon from Louth Village says it would be blow to the community to lose the local station.

“We have been extremely well served here in Louth Village by the station,” says Cllr Lennon. “There was Sgt John Minnock who is now retired and also Gda Tom Cassidy, who have served the community here for years. Now we have Gda Martin Carrroll and he is doing a great job.

“It’s incredibly handy and useful to have a Garda Station here. There are many different jobs that get done, not just crime investigation.

“There are also many cases don’t come to light, which get taken care of in without making a fuss. Community policing.”

Cllr Lennon says the town could run the risk of being isolated from a Garda prescence.

“We are six miles from Ardee and six miles from Dundalk, and about the same to Carrick. That’s a long way to go a guard.

“We are definitely more alert to crime here in Louth Village then before and there are Community Alert systems in operation.”

“It gives you a sense of security. There’s been a station there as long as I can remember, and it would be a shame to see it go.”

The Garda Representative Association (GRA), which represents 11,200 rank-and-file gardaí in a force of 13,500, said further closures would damage policing and undermine public confidence in the force. The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI), which represents middle-management ranks, expressed its concern no research had been compiled on the impact of station closures.

AGSI general secretary Joe Dirwan this week said when some stations were closed along the Border in the 1960s, gardaí were distanced from those communities, some of which later became centres of terrorist-related activities. “You have to ask if the public wants a fire brigade-style model of policing. Do people want the guards to arrive, see to a call-out and then leave? Or do they want ongoing engagement?”