Cavan Fianna Fáil Councillor, John Paul Feeley has condemned the Taoiseach’s attitude to the closure of Garda Stations around the country. Responding to comments ascribed to the Taoiseach in yesterday’s (Sunday 27th November 2011) Sunday Times, Councillor Feeley stated,;
‘Across rural Ireland there is a huge level of fear that our Garda Stations are to be closed. Lists of possible stations have been leaked and last week the Fine Gael Justice Minister, Alan Shatter TD stated that an announcement of closures would take place in the coming weeks. That the Taoiseach when launching a book about the Gardai would joke that he hoped it would be enjoyed in ‘stations around the country – that is, in the stations that haven’t been closed yet,’ shows the kind of contempt that he, his Government and his Party have for the concerns of Rural Ireland.’
The comments were reported to have been made at the launch of a book, The Guards, a collection of images of the force put together by Mark Condren, an award winning photographer at the AIB headquarters last week. It is reported that Mr. Kenny made jokes about backward country guards before he made the quip about the closed garda stations.
‘That the Head of Government would make light of the work of the Gardai, and the service the force has given to the State, including many members who paid the ultimate price is a poor reflection on Mr. Kenny but it is not surprising in view of the arrogant and sneering attitude on display from Fine Gael and Labour public representatives across the board of late.’
Concluding the West Cavan Councillor, who has highlighted that three of the seven stages in the Belturbet Electoral Area are earmarked for closure under the Government proposals, those being Dowra, Bawnboy and Killeshandra has called on the regions Fine Gael representatives to stand up to these plans and protect the service of the Gardai in rural areas.
‘Even at this late stage, these proposals can and must be reversed. Closing Garda Stations runs contrary to all that has been done in resent years to support rural Ireland and improve services. I haven’t heard so much as a murmur from any of our Fine Gael representatives and would call on them to make there positions clear and protect our Garda Stations.’