Fianna Fáil TD for Carlow/Kilkenny, John McGuinness, has condemned the fresh attack on garda stations in Kilkenny.
The Justice Minister Alan Shatter has announced plans to close 100 garda stations in the first half of next year, including 4 in Carlow/Kilkenny alone. These are Leighlinbridge, Ballyragget, Johnstown and Inistioge, which are now confirmed as shut.
Deputy McGuinness has described it as an ‘appalling attack’ on communities across the county.
“Carlow/Kilkenny has fared very badly in Minister Shatter’s hit list. Within the next six months, the constituency will have four less garda stations and many of our communities will have lost their local station. Alan Shatter had warned that he was planning a second attack on garda stations, but even for him this is a shocking level of cuts to our local garda stations,” said Deputy McGuinness.
“The Minister sneakily announced this slash and burn on Budget day, hoping it seems that people wouldn’t pay too much attention. He is sorely mistaken. Removing the garda presence from our communities on such a large scale at a time when the rate of burglaries has increased makes absolutely no sense. The presence of a local garda station, however small, acts as a deterrent to criminals who target vulnerable households.
“In this announcement, Minister Shatter is stripping four local communities of yet another essential local service, and his casual attempts to soften the blow by offering social media gimmicks instead will not work. Suggesting to people who feel vulnerable in their homes that they could ‘tweet the gardaí’ or ‘find them on Facebook’ is nothing short of insulting.
“People in towns and villages right across this region who were worried about crime cannot believe that instead of showing leadership, Fine Gael and Labour have sanctioned such a significant slash and burn of our local garda resources.
“I intend to strongly oppose these closures and I am urging the Government Deputies across Kilkenny to stand up for their local communities and do the same,” concluded Deputy McGuinness.