The Garda Representative Association has criticised plans to close up to 80 garda stations around the country before the end of the year.

It is understood they will be replaced by "occasional clinics", which will see officers meet people in local centres.

Gardaí will make themselves available to meet people and deal with issues such as taking reports on crime and stamping forms.

The move is part of a new policing model, which was discussed by senior officers at a conference this week.

Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors President John Redmond has said renting a hall several times per week would actually be more expensive than running a garda station.