Limerick Cllr Eddie Ryan has criticised the government’s decision to sell three Garda stations in Co Limerick which were recently shut down by Justice Minister Alan Shatter.

Cllr Ryan was reacting to confirmation that the government is selling off 30 Garda stations it recently closed – including Galbally, Doon and Tournafulla stations.

“This is yet another loss for these three Limerick communities.  Their local Garda station has already been shut down and now the building which was once a focal point of the community is being sold off,” said Cllr Ryan.

“The government’s excuse is that they ‘couldn’t find’ any other use for these buildings. I find that extremely hard to believe. In Galbally for example, two Gardaí are living in the old premises as they are stationed nearby. Surely the fact that two Gardaí are renting is an adequate use for the Galbally Garda station.

“These buildings have been central to community life for decades, not only providing comfort and security to local residents, but also offering important ancillary services. The government should have made every effort to ensure that the buildings are given back to the community and can remain at the heart of the community life.

“I believe Minister Shatter’s campaign of shutting local Garda stations and dismantling community Garda resources is fundamentally wrong.  I also believe that this campaign is a strong element of a wider attack on rural communities in the West of Ireland in particular.  Many Limerick communities have seen their local services dramatically reduced over past two years. Six Garda stations have been shut down in Limerick this year alone. Courthouses, libraries, bank branches, credit unions are shutting down in many areas.  The HSE is also attempting to sell off some health centres. Small schools are under increasing risk of closure.  Small retailers and many other local businesses are under threat as a result of a continued lack of support from banks and government.

“All of this amounts to a dramatic withdrawal of services in many comm-unities across Limerick Unfortunately, the government’s decision to sell off local Garda station buildings will be seen as yet another nail in the coffin.”