herald

Saturday 21 September 2019

Ross's reopened garda station will be shut at night and take officers from other areas

Shane Ross and Cllr Kevin Daly outside the station in 2017
Shane Ross and Cllr Kevin Daly outside the station in 2017

Transport Minister Shane Ross's much-hyped pet project garda station won't be open through the night.

The reopened Stepaside station will take gardai from other suburbs on the southside of Dublin, rather than new staff.

The reopening of the station was a key demand of Mr Ross when the Independent Alliance entered Government.

The station is one of six being reopened under a pilot scheme.

The estimated cost of refurbishing and opening the station is €1.5m.

Denied

Mr Ross has denied the prioritisation of Stepaside in his Dublin Rathdown constituency was a case of "stroke politics".

Last year after three shops in the village were broken into, the minister said: "They wonder why we need a garda station 24/7. The reopening cannot come soon enough."

However, garda management says the current plan is for the station to be open only from 7am to 9pm.

"It will not be a 24-hour station," garda management said in a letter to Independent councillor Michael Donnelly.

Three sergeants, 24 gardai and one staff member will be based at the station, with officers "reallocated from within the DMR East Division", the letter says.

The Garda Dublin Metropolitan Region East Division covers southside suburbs, including Dun Laoghaire, Blackrock, Cabinteely, Shankill, Dundrum, Leopardstown, Foxrock, Ballinteer and Mount Merrion.

Mr Donnelly said he was "extremely concerned" at the development.

"This certainly was not what I had envisaged for the Stepaside station," he said.

"I wanted to see new gardai in our district and not existing resources being reallocated.

"I also had hoped that the station would be open on a full-time basis and not 7am to 9pm daily."

The decision to reopen Stepaside was taken by the Cabinet two years ago.

Mr Ross said at the time: "The criteria was criminal activity in the area, rise in population and the feeling of locals."

Dropped

However, crime rates in Stepaside dropped significantly in the period leading up to the decision to reopen.

A review of 78 towns nationwide by garda management singled out the station on the grounds of population growth.

In his most recent note to constituents on the station, Mr Ross said Stepaside has been "suffering without a local garda station for over six years".

"Our priority was always to see a full garda presence back in the heart of Stepaside village and further delays would not be acceptable," he said.

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