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Wrath over rural closures

Government Ministers and TDs will feel the wrath of constituents during their half-term holiday this week, as anger intensifies over the death by a thousand cuts policies that have robbed rural Ireland of garda stations, banks and post offices, the Sunday Independent reported.

The chief executive of Irish Rural Link, Seamus Boland, told the paper: "What we are looking at now is the tearing asunder of the fabric of rural Ireland and the creation of a rural wasteland where the people simply do not feel safe anymore."

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Stated the report: "There is now considerable anger among government backbenchers who fear a backlash from constituents at the next election because of the closure of rural garda stations.

On Friday, AIB closed 44 of its bank branches across the country.

The State-controlled bank, which has been bailed out by taxpayers, posted a loss of €1.1 billon for the first six months of this year.

Community groups have protested and handed in petitions against branch closures in Donegal, Cavan, Monaghan and Limerick.

So far, 39 garda stations have closed, but 80 will have been shut by the end of the year, with stations being replaced by occasional "garda clinics" to be held twice a week in hired community venues.

The Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors described the proposals as "bordering on farcical."

Fine Gael backbenchers, according to the report, have warned Justice Minister Alan Shatter that he must give them more details of garda station closures if he expects them to support the latest cutbacks.