Shatter says garda station closures will go ahead
Updated: Sunday, 03 Feb 2013 21:09
Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has said the decision to close 100 garda stations will not be reversed.
He was speaking after up to 2,000 people in his own constituency took part in a protest this afternoon against the decision to close the garda station in Stepaside, in south Dublin.
Stepaside is one of five further garda stations that are set to be closed this year, following in the wake of the 95 which were closed on Thursday.
The station services 10,000 residents and another 10,000 people who travel to work in the area every day.
The 34 gardaí who serve this urban and rural area in the foothills of the Dublin Mountains will be redeployed.
It is part of the Minister for Justice's plan to free up an extra 61,000 garda patrol hours.
Mr Shatter said he acknowledged the concerns of his constituents in relation to the upcoming closure of Stepaside Garda Station.
He said he was relying on the advice of the Garda Commissioner, who had advised him that the changes and reforms would result in more gardaí being available to be on the beat in frontline service.
Mr Shatter said he could not rely on the views of current or former members of An Garda Siochána who were opposed to change.
He said it was regrettable that some Oireachtas members were fuelling the concerns of citizens.
Aside from closing stations, Mr Shatter is also targeting garda pay, proposing cuts to overtime, weekend and premium payments.
The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors (AGSI) has already walked away from talks on pay cuts.
The GRA, which represents rank and file members, will discuss its position at a meeting of its central executive council tomorrow.
It has already said that pay cuts are not an option.