The west side of Galway city and western Connemara region will be left without a dedicated Garda presence as Salthill Garda Station faces imminent closure.
Salthill Garda Station is earmarked for closure within the next two years once construction of the new Garda Headquarters in Murrough, Renmore, is completed. This is part of a series of moves that will involve the downgrading of Mill Street and the relocation and concentration of all Gadra infrastructure into the east side of the city.
Salthill is the district headquarters Salthill, Knocknacarra, Moycullen, Oughterard, An Spidéal, Indreabhán, Roscmuc, and Lettermore, but these responsibilities are to be taken over by Mill Street Garda Station, which is being downgraded from HQ to a district headquarters.
The result of this reorganisation is that the western half of the city will be without a dedicated Garda Station. The nearest ones will be as far out as An Cheathrú Rua and Clifden, a situation Independent Galway West TD Noel Grealish described as “making no sense”.
“There is already a huge facility in Oranmore, five miles down the road from it will be the Murrough station, a mile an a half from that will be Mill Street, and then nothing for the Salthill, Knocknacarra, and west Connemara areas,” he told the Galway Advertiser. “I know of no other case where you would have three major garda stations within a six mile radius of each other.”
The issue was brought to light by Dep Grealish following a parliamentary question tabled to the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald. She refused to confirm the commitment given by the previous government that Salthill Garda Station would be retained.
The Fine Gael-Labour Government has drawn huge criticism for the closure of numerous Garda stations throughout the State. In the past two years 10 rural Garda stations in County Galway have been shut down.
Dep Grealish said it is “madness” to leave the Salthill/Knocknacarra region without a Garda station, as it serves as a dedicated 24-hour station for an area with a population of more than 20,000.
The Mayor of Galway City, Donal Lyons, said he is “devastated” by the news and said “an increased Garda presence”, not a reduction, is what is needed.
“We have already seen a reduction in the number of gardai on the beat in the community,” said Mayor Lyons. “The closure of this Garda station will further reduce the Garda presence on the ground.”
Dep Grealish has pledged to raise the issue with An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, with a view to securing a commitment that Salthill Garda Station will be retained. Mayor Lyons will be raising this matter at the next meeting of the Joint Policing Committee.