Minister of State for Diaspora Affairs, Jimmy Deenihan was on official duty in Castleisland on Friday at noon where he performed the official opening of Castleisland Garda Station.
Minister Deenihan opened the station on behalf of the Minister for Justice and Equality, Frances Fitzgerald TD.
All the local top brass attended and guest of honour was history making, first woman, Garda Commissioner, Noírín O’Sullivan and deputy commissioner, John O’Mahony. And, talking of brass, members of the Garda Band attended and played on the auspicious occasion.
Castleisland Garda Station is an area headquarters and construction of the new facility was managed by the Office of Public Works.
The station provides An Garda Síochána with modern facilities for the town of Castleisland and surrounding areas including accommodation for various units including a Scenes of Crime Unit, Immigration, Divisional Traffic and administrative offices.
Guests at the informal ceremony included Garda Commissioner Noirín O’Sullivan who ruled out further station closures from among those remaining in the wake of former justice minister Alan Shatter’s blitz on rural outposts of 2012 and 2013.
A total of nine stations were closed in Kerry in January 2013 with Brosna being the closest casualty to Castleisland. While local communities protested and voiced their fears of an increase of rural crime in areas where stations were to be closed, Shatter’s axe came down on stations in: Camp, Fenit, Abbeydorney, Beaufort, Lauragh, Kilgarvan, Valentia Island and Ballinskelligs as well as Brosna. That was a year after stations closed in North Kerry including those in Ballylongford, Knockanure and Moyvane. Overall, 95 Garda stations throughout Ireland were closed down in one day on January 31-2013.
The cuts in ‘one-man stations’ around the county, and indeed the country, were on foot of recommendations of An Bord Snip Nua and Dublin based economist, Colm McCarthy.
The ‘snip nua’ report singled out 20 such stations throughout Kerry for closure while concluding that it was at the discretion of the garda commissioner of the time to determine which of these would close.