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Former mayor claims Salthill Garda Station’s 24-hour status is ‘under threat’


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

Former mayor claims Salthill Garda Station’s 24-hour status is ‘under threat’ Former mayor claims Salthill Garda Station’s 24-hour status is ‘under threat’

From the Galway City Tribune – A former mayor of Galway has claimed the 24-hour status of Salthill Garda Station remains under threat.

Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) previously highlighted in this newspaper that ten gardaí had been transferred out of Salthill in September to other stations within the Division.

At the time, senior Gardaí said that Salthill would remain a 24-hour station. But Cllr Lyons said he remains concerned that it will be downgraded, with shorter opening times in the near future.

“I’m not being alarmist about this, but to take ten guards out of a garda station is a lot. The explanation was that Salthill no longer has to cover Connemara, but the detective unit was ears on the ground. Five have gone – four detectives and a detective sergeant were reassigned to Mill Street.

“It would appear to me that they are beginning to wind down Salthill, reduce its garda personnel and at some stage in the future they will say, ‘Now we are only able to open Salthill certain hours of the day as distinct to a 24-hour station’,” said Cllr Lyons.

He said that there are 20,000 residents in Knocknacarra alone and it needs more gardaí.

“It’s bigger than most towns, and all we have is three community gardaí and a sergeant. Their presence is often needed for prison or court duties,” he said.

Cllr Lyons said Salthill could suffer a similar fate to other West of Ireland stations that were downgraded.

“Kiltimagh and Swinford have no garda presence in their stations after certain hours. I can foresee the same thing happening here, because of the reduction in staff. In order to have a police presence, 24 hours, they have to have personnel in the station.

“At least a quarter of gardaí have been taken out of Salthill, if not more. Losing ten personnel is worrying and it doesn’t augur well for the future of Salthill as a 24-hour station. I’m not being alarmist when I say that.

“I’m not taking away from the excellent work the gardaí do, but from an operational point of view those that are making these decisions in Garda HQ will say Mill Street is less than five kilometres from Salthill,” said Cllr Lyons.

Another problem faced by gardaí policing Salthill and Knocknacarra was a shortage of patrol cars, he claimed.

“There is a shortage of garda cars, not alone in Galway but right across the country. Overall, it’s my understanding that when constituents ring to say there is a problem in an area, they are being informed that there is no garda car available,” Cllr Lyons added.

At last month’s Galway City Joint Policing Committee meeting, Superintendent Damien Flanagan urged people to allow time for the new organisational structure of the Galway Garda Division to bed in.

The re-organisation came into force in September with County Galway split into three ‘Community Engagement Areas’; one in Galway City, one in Galway County East and one in Galway County West.

The Superintendent for County West is based in Oranmore Garda Station, and is responsible for all of Connemara, which up to now was led from Salthill.

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