Dromahair station has been “continuously occupied” since it was an RIC barracks in 1840, but it became “another derelict building” in the village as it closed it’s doors last Thursday, January 31.
A large crowd turned out for the final closing of the station that has dominated the Main Street of Dromahair for 173 years. The station which once had a sergeant and five gardai working from it, was not only a barracks for the RIC and the Gardai but it was also a family home for the many children who were reared there while their fathers took on the role of local sergeant. Families of past members and retired Dromahair Gardai joined with the local community last Thursday to bid a sad farewell to the station.
With 36 years in the service, 17 of which was spent in Dromahair, Sgt Robert Conroy said he was “disappointed” to be transferred out of the village he lives in. Although the station might only have been opened for three hours a day, the rest of the shift was spent “patrolling the area, investigating crime, dealing with the public and paperwork.” The well known Sgt Conroy said “I have yet to meet anyone who is happy about the station closing.”
Only five years ago the station was totally refurbished and Cllr John McTernan who had a motion about the closure before Monday’s Leitrim County Council meeting said the shutting of Dromahair station “was not going to save the state any money.” He said the station provided a “personal service” and although Manorhamilton Garda Station is only seven miles away, “Dromahair is only 12 miles from the large urban setting of Sligo.” He also pointed out that Dromahair has seen huge growth over the past decade and the station “is another derelict building on the main street.”
Retired Garda Walter Doyle who lives close by and was previously stationed in Dromahair said the closure was “very wrong.” He said they will “regret the decision” in a few years and will be looking for ways to get back into the community. He pointed out that Garda numbers are down and the closure of valuable stations is another “blow to the West of Ireland.” He stated “I don’t know why people are not on the streets,” he said rural people are ”entitled to a service.”
Manorhamilton Superintendent John Furlong said the station had a “long history in Dromahair” but that there are new policing arrangements in place. He emphasised Manorhamilton Garda Station is open 24 hours and they will provide “additional community Gardai” with regular public meetings and clinics. He thanked the people of Dromahair for their co-operation.