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Station upgrade must be followed by more Gardaí

The upgrading of Spiddal Garda Station should be followed with an urgent increase in Garda numbers for Connemara with figures showing no new Garda graduate has been sent to Galway city or county since 2020.

That is the call from Councillor Dáithí Ó Cualáin, who said he had campaigned over the last five years to have the station reopened and upgraded as it is the first Garda base that the public encounter as they enter Connemara.

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris attended the official launch recently with Minister for Justice Helen McEntee and Minister of State with responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPS) Kieran O’Donnell following the knocking of the old, prefabricated building built in 1984 and the construction of a permanent building in its place on an existing site along Mountain Road.

There are currently two members attached to An Spidéal Garda Station, both native Irish speakers, who continued to provide a service to the local community operating from Indreabhán Garda Station during the work which was completed last December.

The station upgrade includes a more modern office, wheelchair accessibility and an electric vehicle (EV) charging point, which has led to the first Garda EV vehicle to be stationed in Connemara.

Commissioner Harris said An Garda Síochána remains committed to community policing and the investment in An Spidéal Garda Station is a prime example of this.

“This formal opening is a positive reflection of our dedication to providing a modern policing service to the people of Ireland. I know that these facilities will further strengthen our capabilities here in County Galway, as an effective and efficient police service dedicated to guarding the peace and upholding the rule of law.”

Cllr Ó Cualáin told the Connacht Tribune that it was vital that Garda stations remain in rural areas and are staffed adequately to be able to provide a satisfactory service to the local community.

“I welcome that both Gardaí stationed in An Spidéal are both fluent Irish speakers and carry out their duties using the Irish Language on a daily basis which is highly important for any Gaeltacht area,” the Fianna Fáil representative stated.

“While the upgrading and opening of the station is very welcome, I continue to believe additional Garda numbers are needed to service the Connemara area. I continue to call on Garda management to provide additional Garda members to be stationed in Connemara.

“We need additional Garda numbers not only in Connemara but throughout Galway city and county as a whole.  It is my understanding that no new Graduate Gardaí have been sent to Galway city or county since 2020 which is a shocking statistic giving the rise in rural crime and the growing policing needs of Galway city and county.

“We need an increase in Garda numbers as is being done in other towns and cities throughout Ireland.”

Prior to 1984, the old Garda Station at An Spidéal was located on the main street of the village in a building which was initially a Royal Irish Constabulary barracks until the formation of An Garda Síochána.

In 1984 a temporary prefabricated building was erected on the current site on Mountain Road, which was acquired by the OPW.

Pictured: The newly upgraded and reopened Spiddal Garda Station.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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