The Garda Representative Association is calling on the Minister for Justice to reconsider the policy of closing garda stations.

The GRA said the policy is ill thought out and will reduce the policing service all over the country.

The association, which represents over 8,000 rank and file gardaí, will open its annual conference in Athlone this afternoon and Minister Alan Shatter is due to address delegates there tomorrow.

39 stations were closed two weeks ago and more closures are being planned, however garda representatives are to call on the Minister to reconsider the move before what they call "irreparable damage" is done.

The GRA is also expected to say that the Justice system needs to be re-examined, the legal system does not protect people and the sentencing of convicted criminals needs to be fully implemented.