Talks have commenced with a view to transforming Ballymahon Garda Station into a fully operational 24 hour facility
Talks have begun to turn Ballymahon Garda Station into a fully fledged 24 hour facility, the Leader can reveal.
The south Longford town station currently opens on a part-time basis but it’s understood moves are now afoot to upgrade it by carrying out a €500,000 extension.
A meeting was held in the south Longford town yesterday (Tuesday) between Minister for the OPW Kevin Boxer Moran, senior gardaí and high ranking officials from Longford County Council.
Mr Moran described the discussions as “positive and constructive” with the Longford/Westmeath TD now expected to enter dialogue with Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan to bring the project to the next stage.
“All parties could see what this could bring to Ballymahon and its surrounding areas,” said Mr Moran at the conclusion of yesterday’s meeting.
He also said the move would help ease the burden on garda management in their attempts to combat crime at a local level.
“This meeting didn’t happen today or yesterday,” he said.
In a statement released to the Leader yesterday evening, Longford County Council confirmed discussions had taken place yesterday concerning a range of initiatives connected to Ballymahon's future development.
One of these, the statement read concerned the proposed extension of the town's existing garda station.
"Longford County Council facilitated a meeting this morning (Tuesday) which was attended by, among others, Minister Moran and (Longford) Superintendent Jim Delaney.
"The meeting considered a number of issues relevant to the Ballymahon Municipal District including a proposal to extend the Ballymahon Garda station in the future."
Mr Moran was careful not to mention whether the imminent arrival of Center Parcs in 2019 had given rise to the discussions, preferring instead to focus on the region’s expanding population base.
“The fact is Ballymahon is a growing town and more and more people want to live there,” he said.
“Ballymahon is central to a lot of small towns and villages that are nearby and it will mean that gardaí can get to many of these places a lot faster,” he said.
Those soundings were given a thumbs up by Ballymahon Municipal District Cathaoirleach Cllr Gerald Farrell.
“I think it makes perfect sense,” he said.
“There is a lot going on in Ballymahon at the minute.
“Its population is growing, it is the main thoroughfare between the north and south (of the country) and on that basis it would make an ideal spot for a 24 hour garda station.
“There is one (24 hour garda station) in Granard and Longford and we need something like that in Ballymahon.”