‘The robbers are back down the M9 before you get a response. It’s a joke’
SINCE their garda station shut its door four years ago the people of Leighlinbridge have been forced to rely on a part-time station in Bagenalstown, 5km in the opposite direction to the motorway locals fear is being used by travelling criminals; Carlow Garda Station, more than 12km away cross county, and Tullow, over 20km away.
The closest station is six minutes away by car. Carlow and Tullow are 15 minutes and 20 minutes away respectively.
One man who works in a shop said he rings Bagenalstown first and, if that fails, is transferred to either Carlow or Tullow.
‘Sure the lads who did the robbing are down the motorway before you get a response. It’s a joke,’ he said.
Another man told how Bagenalstown covers an area that extends as far as Myshall – 20km from Leighlinbridge.
‘Even when you do get through there, the one car they have could be covering an incident in Myshall, but you need them in Leighlinbridge.
‘If our station does open, we need gardaí to police it.’
He added: ‘Carlow is further down the motorway but, if an incident happens here, they respond here. If they were to cut someone off on the motorway, you’d have to be able to supply them with the details they need, like car type and registration number.’
A retired garda told how he remembers a time when there was a sergeant and three gardaí stationed in Leighlinbridge.
‘I was stationed in it. It is a real shame it is closed. We are supposed to work in the community. ’ Another local added that the only garda they see in Leighlinbridge is a young garda who lives in the town but is stationed elsewhere.
‘The only time we see a garda round here is when she is dropping her children to school.’