Minister reveals shocking scale of garda cutbacks in rural North West

Crime wave that shocked the region.

Sligo News File Online

Local garda station closures in the North West rocketed during the term of the last Fine Gael-led government.

Responding to questions on the issue, Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald has revealed the scale of garda station wipeout across the region.

Garda services were killed off with apparent reckless disregard for the safety of the local communities that stations had been set up to protect.

Now, the full scale of the mindless action has been exposed, with a parliamentary reply identifying numerous areas of the North West from which garda services were removed by order of the previous Coalition.

Locations stripped of the services have included Bunnanadden, Drumkerrin, Kiltyclogher, Tullyvin, An Duchoraidh, Culdaff, Dunkineely, Aclare, Ballyfarnon, Cliffoney, Cloone, Dromahair, Dromod, Easkey, Glenfarne, Keshcarrigan, Bawnboy, Redhills, Shantonagh, Stradone, Annagaire, Gleann Cholm Cille, Malin, Min an Lábain, Na Brocacha.

In an earlier looney act, the Fianna Fail-led government ordered the closure of the entire garda training operation at Templemore, an extraordinary decision given the threat as was posed by the already reducing level of garda manpower, most particularly in rural parts of the country.

The crime wave that followed rocked the public – ruthless criminal gangs targeted rural residences, businesses, and farms with virtual impunity. CSO figures show that a phenomenal 28,000 farm-related crime incidents have been reported to the gardaí since 2010.

For elderly residents, the fear of being attacked, maimed or murdered in their homes left some afraid to open their door either day or night. The tyranisation had one TD declaring that people living in the countryside should be able to have guns for protection.

A 2015 report in the Independent reveals that two years before he was shot dead, Garda Tony Golden raised concerns about garda cutbacks in a memo given to a local community group. The group had seemingly approached Garda Golden ahead of a meeting with the then Justice Minister to raise concerns about a reduction in garda numbers as part as part of government cutbacks and fears following the murder of Det. Garda Donohoe who was shot dead in 2013.