Comment: Garda station closures is wrong move

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The closure of garda stations can, of course, be justified in terms of the economics of the decision.

The closure of garda stations can, of course, be justified in terms of the economics of the decision.

Closing small rural stations at a time of economic and fiscal duress is the right move, from a completely budgetary point of view.

However, as is often the case, the raw economics of the decision often misses the point.

The closure of these stations is a severe body blow to small communities, struggling to maintain their social fabric at a time when many services are been downgraded, or taken away altogether.

Also these closures are taking place at a time when crime, and particularly violent crime, is rampant.

The sad state of rural areas these days sees a largely elderly population living in fear, and largely helpless in the face of much of what is occurring around them.

Now with the closure of these stations, the pillars of community life continue to be eroded, and at an alarming rate.

The argument that these stations were not manned even a quarter of the time also misses the point.

Having a garda station in the local area was all about perception, and was at the very least a comfort to the people living there.

People knew there was a presence and were reassured by it.

The days of the local garda, who knew everyone, are long gone, as is the notion of community policing.

With the disappearance of many of these stations from the local landscape, rural Ireland has been dealt another blow.

For the people living there, it is fundamentally unfair.