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Llocals 'elated' at reopening of old garda station - just as Ross is due to step aside...

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Stepaside Garda Station has reopened

Stepaside Garda Station has reopened

Stepaside Garda Station has reopened

Stepaside Garda Station has reopened after eight years of lying empty due to recession cutbacks.

The historic building in the expanding south Dublin village has been substantially modernised and revamped inside to make way for 25 gardai who will now police the area.

The first visitor yesterday morning when the station opened was acting Transport, Tourism and Sport Minister Shane Ross, who campaigned vigorously for the station to be brought back into operation.

Despite his efforts, however, he lost his seat in the constituency in last month's election.

Sergeant Shane Curtis and Garda Marvin Ireland were on patrol from early morning, introducing themselves to locals and business owners, while Garda Helen Gillen held the fort.

Population

"It's a great day for the community of Stepaside. It will be a busy station acting not only as a community hub but a base for road policing also," Sgt Curtis told the Herald.

"It's a good news story, and will see us policing everywhere from Sandyford Industrial Estate to Johnnie Fox's pub and out as far as Kilternan.

"Three-quarters of it is country at the moment but there will probably be a lot of future development.

"The area has grown a lot over the years and the population is going up, so reopening the station is a bit of future-proofing for the area too."

Gda Gillen remembers the station before it was closed, and said the work done on it to bring it up to a modern standard was excellent.

"They have taken an old station and transformed it. The internal layout is similar to what it was but the use of the rooms is different," she said.

"The old kitchen is now the toilets, and the whole building was insulated. It's cleaner, brighter and fresher than it used to be."

Locals said they were delighted to see the station open again.

"I feel safer now, in the street and in my home," said Tara Friel who was out shopping with her eight-week-old son Oscar.

"There have been break-ins and burglaries, and if the gardai can get to know who the troublemakers are it will be very reassuring, especially after a young person was stabbed at a Luas stop at Glencairn last week.

"We are thankful to Shane Ross and everyone that kept the campaign going."

Aistis Slajus also said he was happy to see the station open again.

As Sgt Curtis and Gda Ireland carried out an early patrol on the street, he said there had been two recent burglary attempts in the estate where he lives.

"Even their presence on the street is a great sign. We feel safer now that we know gardai are nearby," he said.

Business owners also said they were delighted the station was back open. There have been several break-ins in shops and businesses in the town since the station's doors were shut.

In one robbery spree in November 2018, three premises within sight of the station were broken into and robbed within minutes of each other.

"The whole area is elated to be honest," said Des Kennedy, owner of the local Centra store.

"The station has been a long time closed and we have had to keep the pressure on to have it reopened. We have been broken into twice while the station was empty and closed.

"We can thank local councillor Lettie McCarthy and Minister Ross for keeping the campaign going."

Karol Tallon, from Mulvey's pharmacy, said: "The station should never have closed at all. It is great to see it open again after so many break-ins and the assaults at Luas stops.

"Any garda presence is good, and when they are so near it means response times will be quicker than if they have to come from Dundrum.

Safety

"The distance they had to travel from Dundrum, and the traffic on the way, meant that criminals could be already on the M50 by the time the gardai arrived here.

"I grew up here, and I worry about the safety of teenagers after the recent attack at the Luas stop, so I am glad to see gardai in Stepaside again."

Although Mr Ross lost his seat last month, he will always be remembered for his campaign to reopen the station.

"I was at the station at 7am to welcome the gardai. I have always stressed the need for community gardai here and I praise the community for keeping the faith that the station would reopen," he said.

Stepaside Garda Station was one of 139 stations around the country closed due to cutbacks between 2012 and 2013.

It is now open to the public between 7am and 9pm.