TEMPLEMORE Garda Station may be downgraded under new plans to rationalise the police service nationally, heard Councillors at this month’s meeting of the Joint Policing Committee (JPC).
The JPC brings together Town Councillors, Gardaí, and community representative to discuss local security.
Plans are in train to reduce the number of Garda Divisions in Tipperary from six to five, with Templemore going to Thurles, while Roscrea goes to Nenagh. Cllr Martin Fogarty said there was huge concern and unease in Templemore at the prospect that the local Garda Station might close, or have reduced hours. “How will we be affected here in Templemore?” Cllr Fogarty asked Supt Pat O’Connor. “How will it affect people in the town?”
Supt O’Connor said he understood that the Garda Commissioner Martin Callanan is looking at the issue nationally, and how the whole country is policed. “Templemore is designated for a downgrade. If it were to happen, there would be no seat for a Superintendent.”
With Templemore District Court now sitting in Thurles, and Roscrea Court gone to Nenagh, it’s possible that senior management in the gardaí are considering “dissecting” Templemore, with some of the gardaí being re-located to Thurles, while some Roscrea gardaí are re-located to Nenagh.
“Superintendents will not be re-hired,” added Supt O’Connor, who cited the example of Abbeyleix, where an outgoing Superintendent was not replaced. “They are not making Superintendents anymore.”
Supt O’Connor stressed that there will continue to be a Garda presence in Templemore, and in Roscrea. Cllr O’Shea said he heard rumours that the service might not continue after 12 o’clock. “Is that true?”
Supt O’Connor dismissed the rumour, saying there would have to be a “lot of work” done before a full downgrade of Templemore Garda Station takes place. “It’s a not a fait accompli. I am still carrying on as usual. They are only rumours.” However, Superintendents would seem to be “an endangered species.”
Cllr Connell said he came to Templemore back in the ‘60’s. The Garda Station was “under threat then”, but “what we have, we hold.” Cllr Connell said he wondered what would be left in Templemore, with the Court gone, the College gone, and maybe now, the local Superintendent.
Cllr Valerie Young said she was glad that the Station wouldn’t be closed after 12 o’clock. Cllr Young said downgrading the Station would leave outlying areas, like Clonmore, Loughmore and Clonakenny, exposed to crime. “They’d be like sitting ducks. A presence makes a big difference. I know cuts have to be made but I hope they don’t go too far.”
Cllr Marcus Wilson asked if the full compliment of gardaí would remain in Templemore. “At the moment, it’s difficult enough for the lads that are there. If we lose anymore it would certainly be a very sad day.”
“I don’t have crystal ball,” responded Supt O’Connor. Templemore Garda Station has a new work roster being piloted over the next 12 months, meaning gardaí work longer shifts. “A lot more work is coming from that because of longer tours of duty.” Supt O’Connor thanked members of the community who help gardaí administer the law. The Station has a new patrol car, but the area gardaí have to cover is a very large one, he added.
Cllr O’Shea said the public should call on local Oireachtas members to defend Templemore Garda Station. “You have the support of the people at large,” he told Supt O’Connor.