The open door of Dromod Garda Station provided a “peace of mind” to those who lived alone around the community.
Local Fianna Fail Councillor Sean McGowan said, “Dromod Garda barracks has served the people of the village well over the years, and I want to thank all the Gardaí who have been stationed in the village for their help and support down through the years. I want to thank in particular Garda Joe Egan, who as the last serving Garda stationed in the village, was always most helpful and gave great support and reassurance to the local community particularly the elderly.” Garda Joe Egan will now transfer to Mohill Garda Station.
Cllr McGowan said the latest set back to the village “may well prove the be the most significant in time and have far reaching effects, as the very security of rural communities is now at the mercy of an ever increasing rising tide of crime. It is well established that a large proportion rural dwellers are elderly people in many cases living alone. The message to all parties concerned now is that rural areas may now provide even richer pickings for the criminal gangs that roam the country by day and by night, all the while the vulnerable lie in increasing fear of being visited by undesirables.”
Mary O’Connor from the local shop has heard much concern from locals about the closure. She said it was a further hit to rural communities. She said that in the 1940s there was one sergeant and six gardai stationed in Dromod and although technology, transport and communication has moved on since then, “the population has gotten much bigger.” She stressed the local station gave peace of mind to those living alone. She said she hopes that the building will not “fall into disrepair.”
Local businessman TP Cox said that the village receives loads of tourists on the train, on the boats and if anything they would have liked to have a second Garda in the local station. He said he understood the building was built in the late 1800s and was an RIC barrack before it was transferred to the gardai. Mr Cox added it wasn’t the case that Gda Egan was sitting in the station all the time, he said he showed a presence in town “patrolling the streets and talking to people”.
Cllr Sean McGowan tabled a motion at last Monday’s meeting of Leitrim County Council calling on the Minister for Justice Alan Shatter TD and the Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan “to immediately review this decision, to perform a U turn and give back rural dwellers, the elderly and isolated a measure of their former security.”