The sale of a closed Garda station in South Wexford is a slap in the face to hundreds of people living in fear of burglars across the district. That's the view of Mick Roche, a local election candidate, who believes that the sale of the barracks in Baldwinstown for €75,000 last week will do nothing to tackle the home break epidemic that has plagued the south of the county in recent years.
"South Wexford has experienced a crime epidemic over the past few years," Mr Roche said, "And the government's response has been to close rural garda stations. Recently four businesses in the village of Bridgetown have been broken in to and vandalised. This is only three miles away from the former Garda station in Baldwinstown which was sold by the Office of Public Works for €75,000 last week."
"The sale of this station will do little to instil confidence in people who are literally living in fear of further break ins. I have spoken to several elderly people living alone who told me that they can only sleep during daylight hours due to the terrible fear they are experiencing. How can they be expected to welcome this sale?"
"I would be very interested to know where the money earned in this sale will be invested. Will any of it come back into South Wexford and be used to combat the continuing crime problem? Will it be used to fund some of the volunteer community alert initiatives in the locality that have been formed out of vital necessity? I have asked the Sinn Féin team in Leinster House to raise this in the Dail for me as a matter of urgency."
"Both the IFA and the Garda Representatives Association, two powerful bodies who understand the crime crisis facing rural Ireland, have rejected the plan popularised by Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour politicians to close and sell barracks across the state. The sale of Baldwinstown Garda Station is a regressive step and it looks like the funds acquired will have absolutely no benefit for the people of County Wexford."