ROSCREA and Templemore are facing a threat to their Garda services under a plan to downgrade the Garda stations in both towns from this June. The Tipperary Star can reveal that the plan will see gardai from Roscrea being switched to Nenagh while those in Templemore will go to Thurles under the Policing Programme 2013.
It is believed that as many as 11 gardai will be transferred under the proposal, which was discussed at a meeting in Templemore Garda Training College last week.
From June 23, both stations will open only between 7.30am and 6pm.
The Tipperary Star also understands that some Thurles gardai will no longer provide security at Lisheen mines and Templemore gardai are being trained up in the use of firearms to cover this area.
The Mayor of Templemore, Cllr Michael C Ryan, told the Star this Tuesday that he was hoping to meet Chief Supt Catherine Keogh this week to discuss the matter.
“Nothing is official, but I am working in the background to meet as many people as possible,” he said.
Mayor Ryan said all the councillors in Templemore were united in fighting to keep services in the town and he called on all Oireachtas members to back them as well.
“We need everybody on board to try and keep Templemore alive,” he said.
The Star understands that among concerns being raised are whether or not the area can be adequately policed, will there continue to be a full-time Garda presence in the town even if the station is closed to the public, and will a patrol car be specifically designated to look after the Templemore area.
Meanwhile, a Garda source also voiced the members’ concerns over the proposal.
“If there is an incident in Roscrea that person will be arrested and brought to Nenagh, but what happens if there is a second incident at the same time?” they asked. “A car will then have to come from Thurles.”
The source said that the force was being asked to provide value for money, but pointed out that it was impossible to put a monetary figure on a garda’s work.
“It makes no sense at all. What is the value to society? I believe what is happening is a form of social deprivation. People are entitled to policing,” the garda said, pointing out that they would now be asked to cover a huge geographical area.
The source also maintained that what was happening was being done on the back of the “massaging of figures” in relation to crime, with many incidents now being watered down so they do not register as crimes.
Attempts were made to contact Deputy Noel Coonan and Chief Supt Keogh, but both were at separate meetings and unavailable for comment.
There were claims made at a recent Templemore Town Council meeting that gardai were being “siphoned” away from Templemore, which led to a row between Fine Gael’s Deputy Coonan and Fianna Fail councillors on the town council.
Meanwhile, the Department of Justice, in a statement to the Star, said: “In accordance with the provisions of the Garda Síochána Acts, proposals to change Garda District geographical boundaries are a matter in the first instance for the Garda Commissioner, in the context of his Annual Policing Plan. The decision to amalgamate the relevant Districts follows on from a comprehensive review of current District structures carried out by the Garda authorities. This review was designed to identify strategic reforms which would lead to increased efficiencies, improved operational capacity and enhanced Garda service delivery. In that context, the Minister is advised by the Garda authorities that, following the amalgamation, a full and comprehensive policing service will continue to be delivered to the communities concerned.”