Garda Peter Mulryan outside Kilmessan Garda Station, which is closing.
Meath East Fianna Fáil Senator Thomas Byrne is calling on Fine Gael and Labour to reverse their 'dangerous decision' to shut down almost 100 garda stations across the country this week, including two in Meath.
Senator Byrne was speaking as the Dáil debates a Fianna Fáil motion calling on the Justice Minister not to shut down 100 garda stations nationwide this Thursday. The motion also opposes the underhand reduction in garda numbers and cuts to specialised garda units.
"I have spoken to so many people over the past number of weeks who just cannot understand how the Government's response to an increase in burglaries, thefts and violent attacks is to close another two local garda stations in Meath and continue to preside over falling garda numbers," said Senator Byrne.
"The Justice Minister Alan Shatter needs to open his eyes and see what is going on on the ground. People are fearful in their homes, particularly those living in rural or isolated areas. They need a strong and visible garda presence in their communities to deter criminals and support vulnerable householders - not another slash and burn of community resources.
Senator Byrne said: "The underhand cut to garda numbers must stop. It creates dangerous gaps in our community policing and puts enormous pressure on local gardaí. If the Government allows garda numbers to dwindle below 13,000, our force will be watered down to its lowest level in over a decade. In our pre-budget submission Fianna Fáil budgeted for reopening the Garda training college to new recruits.
"The cuts being made to garda resources are Minister Shatter's own political decisions and are not as a result of an agreement with the Troika or anyone else. No one is forcing him to shut down 100 garda stations. No one is forcing him to make such significant cuts to garda numbers. The government needs to look again at these cuts and the Fine Gael and Labour TDs in Meath need to recognise the deeply flawed path Minister Shatter is taking the garda force on."