Gardaí in Donegal waiting for a new station have been forced to work at a disused factory for the past two years in one of many cases of inadequate garda facilities, the Sunday Tribune has learnt.
Gardaí in Buncrana have been renting a disused factory in the town to carry out their day-to-day duties.
Garda Representative Association (GRA) president Michael O'Boyce, who is based at Burnfoot station in Donegal, said: "They started working out of the disused factory two years ago. Burnfoot is the custody station used by Buncrana gardaí, so there hasn't been an issue with housing people arrested to the factory. Still, it is less than ideal for this length of time.
"The old station was too small and in bad condition. It has been lying vacant since. It should have been put on the market and sold on. It would have been a very valuable site two years ago."
It emerged last month that officers attached to Tallaght garda station in Dublin are using rooms in the four-star Plaza hotel to carry out day-to-day duties and to store work materials. The use of a commercial hotel for police work, with the taxpayer picking up the tab, was described as a disgrace by Labour Party TD Pat Rabbitte.
In Dublin city centre, there are also concerns over where gardaí at Harcourt Terrace will be based following their imminent move. A government decision in 2006 allowed for the site occupied by Harcourt Terrace garda station to be made available for affordable housing.
It was decided that gardaí based there would relocate to Kevin St station, where a new Garda divisional headquarters is being developed.
"The first phase of development at the Kevin St site has been completed, the foundation have been laid but we do have some concerns there hasn't been much more development since," said O'Boyce.
A spokesman for the Office of Public Works said, "as far as I'm aware, there isn't any reneging on the deal to develop the site at Kevin St."
Meanwhile, in west Cork a traffic corps is currently operating out of two garda stations, Bandon and Macroom.
"The traffic unit has no fixed abode. It would be operating much more effectively if it was based at one station," O'Boyce said.
He said the GRA accepted rented accommodation for gardaí was often necessary. "It's better than working in sub-standard garda stations. But it should only be a short-term measure while adequate garda facilities are built, instead of renting accommodation for years, which is happening at the moment. We don't ever want to return to the situation that occurred in Muff."
In 2001, garda in Muff were forced to move into portacabins after the local station was condemned as unfit for human habitation.