Fresh criticism has emerged in Clare over the government’s failure to implement a community policing model, following the closure of dozens of rural Garda stations.
It comes as it’s revealed that only minimal savings have been made as a result of the move.
During the economic downturn, more than 130 Garda stations were closed in a cost saving measure, with rural Ireland the worst-hit.
Among them were Carrigaholt, Labasheeda, Quin, Inagh, Lahinch, Broadford, Mountshannon and Doonbeg.
Kilmihil also closed in 2013, but later re-opened when Lissycasey Garda Station was shut down.
The money saved, however, was relatively small, with cost savings amounting to half a million euro.
Also, the sale of the former Garda barracks has so far raised just €3.2 million since 2014, with Carrigaholt fetching €105,000 of that while Labasheeda managed just €18,500.
Gardaí said that by freeing officers from desk duties, more would be on the beat as part of a community-based model.
However, Whitegate Fine Gael Councillor Pat Burke feels this hasn’t been delivered.
Inagh-based CEO of Muintir na Tíre Niall Garvey agrees that rural areas haven’t experienced the lift that they feel they need in terms of policing.
He says it’s vital that Gardaí get back out into these communities and speak to the people on the ground, as part of their day-to-day policing.