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U-turn on decision to cut hours at Salthill Garda Station


From this week's Galway City Tribune

From this week's Galway City Tribune

U-turn on decision to cut hours at Salthill Garda Station U-turn on decision to cut hours at Salthill Garda Station

Plans to close the public office at Salthill Garda Station after 10pm each night have been put on ice for six months, amid fears the station was being “downgraded by stealth”.

The station’s future came up for discussion at last week’s City Joint Policing Committee (JPC) where local Councillor Donal Lyons (Ind) said he believed that a previous commitment to maintain Salthill’s status was being reneged on.

“Previous to the Chief Superintendent [Gerry Roche] taking up office, we were assured there would be do downgrading of Salthill Station, but it appears it is being done by stealth.

“The Detective Unit was moved out of Salthill; now the office is going to be closed at night,” said Cllr Lyons.

However, Chair of the JPC, Cllr Níall McNelis (Lab), confirmed to the Galway City Tribune that after the meeting, it had been announced that the closing of the station at night was being deferred for six months – pending the introduction of the new garda roster on November 6 and future roster negotiations.

“The Chief Superintendent’s office has confirmed to me that they are putting a stay on closing the public office. It was quite clear at the JPC meeting that there was no political will for this move.

“As it stands, the station has 36 gardaí and two civilian staff. Following a change in the divisional structure last year, it is no longer looking after Connemara but I think the Chief Superintendent does acknowledge that it has a big area to look after in Salthill and, in particular, Knocknacarra,” said Cllr McNelis.

Speaking at the JPC, Chief Superintendent Gerry Roche denied claims that the closing of the public office at night was a “downgrading” of the station and argued that by eliminating the need to keep it open all night, it would mean the availability of another garda to go on patrol.

“We’re not closing the station; we’re not downgrading it,” he stressed.

“There will be the same amount of people working there but it’s to get an extra person out on patrol at night. There are little or no calls coming into the station after 10pm,” he said.

People were not coming in for interviews at night, he added, and any calls to gardaí were now being directed through the new Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) system at Murrough, he continued.

Meanwhile, Senator Seán Kyne (FG) said the garda service in Salthill should be expanded rather than reduced, as he pointed to a growing population on the west of the city – and problems with the new garda structure for South Connemara.

“In a growing area like Knocknacarra, is it wise to be reducing the hours of Salthill?

“We have a nonsensical situation where garda cars are crossing the city from Oranmore to go west to Connemara,” said Senator Kyne, referring to the administration of South Connemara from the Oranmore Garda Station.

The two largest and newest garda buildings in Galway were located in Oranmore and Murrough, he continued, and it was time to be looking at a new station for Salthill and Knocknacarra.

Chief Supt Roche said it was rare that a car was required to traverse the city for Connemara, adding that “if you can convince anyone to give us a new station”, he would support it.

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