Minister for Justice Helen McEntee and Garda Commissioner Drew Harris have officially opened the newly refurbished garda station in Athlone.

The project got under way in 2019 and - despite significant delays due to the Covid-19 pandemic - it was completed earlier this year.

The garda station serves a district of over 26,100 people and that figure looks set to increase, based on preliminary figures from the 2022 census.

Over 100 gardaí are attached to the Divisional Headquarters in Athlone.

The new station, located on Barrack Street in the centre of the midlands town, has a fully accessible public reception, prisoner processing and custody areas, with live CCTV and audio recording.

The project has significantly increased the size of the Garda station, which is now four times the size of the original station.

It incorporated the former social protection building, which had been vacant and was next door to the original station premises.

Speaking at the opening, Commissioner Harris said the new station offers a wide array of services for the local community.

He said there is a particular focus on the protective services unit, based at the station.

Commissioner Harris said the unit was very important in dealing with domestic abuse, gender-based violence and child abuse.