Five vans to be used as mobile garda stations

Friday 01 March 2013 22.14
95 garda stations closed in January
95 garda stations closed in January

Gardaí are to deploy five mobile garda stations as part of the response to the closure of garda stations around the country.

Tenders have been issued to fit out five Fiat vans with seating, power outlets, a small desk and a bell for the public.

A garda spokesperson said the vans will be able to go to areas where stations have closed, or to public events to provide high-visibility policing.

Officers operating the vans will be able to do many of the things done in fixed stations, such as stamping passports and signing forms.

There will also be a private room within the van for conducting confidential conversations, if required.

Fianna Fáil Justice Spokesperson Niall Collins has described the mobile garda station plan as "tokenism".

Mr Collins said the vans will in no way replace the lack of local garda stations and gardaí in communities across Ireland.

Sinn Féin Justice Spokesperson Pádraig Mac Lochlainn said it was a farce, and that it was a sticking plaster and not a practical solution for policing.

A total of 100 stations are closing this year - 95 of them were closed in January.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter has said in the past that the objective in closing the stations is to maximise the operational time available to gardaí, increasing their mobility and visibility.