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Question

352. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality in respect of the number of Garda Síochána stations closed over the past number of years, the number of such stations that were open on a part-time basis, a full-time basis or a 24-hour basis; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42919/15]

Answer

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): The formulation of proposals in relation to the opening and closing of Garda stations is a matter, in the first instance, for the Garda Commissioner in the context of annual policing plans, as provided for in section 22 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005.
The Garda District and Station Rationalisation Programme was implemented in An Garda Síochána during 2012 and 2013. The objective of the review was to identify opportunities to introduce strategic reforms to enhance service delivery, increase efficiency and streamline practices within the organisation. The review concluded that a revised district and station network commensurate with the organisation's resource base would best meet public demand. This was reflected in An Garda Síochána’s Policing Plans 2012 and 2013 which set out the details of the closure of 39 Garda stations in 2012 and 100 Garda stations in 2013 that were approved by my predecessor. The status of these stations prior to the implementation of the Garda District and Station Rationalisation Programme was as follows:
- 8 stations were non-operational;
- 126 stations provided limited hours/part time service, which were dependent on the availability of resources or the condition of the premises; and
- stations were open on a full time basis.
The centralisation of services facilitates the introduction of enhanced patrolling systems that are operational and intelligence-led that deliver a high visibility and community-oriented policing service through:
- increased Garda visibility and patrol hours;
- increased mobility and flexibility within an area resulting in an improved policing service to the public;
- enhanced co-ordination of Garda activity resulting in a greater visibility and presence in the communities;
- more effective use of limited resources across a wider area; and
- continued Garda presence in communities.
The Garda Commissioner has advised that the current consolidation process is largely completed and there are no plans for any further station closures in 2016.