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Sadness and fear as garda station closes

Stepaside Garda Station shut its doors for the final time last night.

In the run-up to its permanent closure, residents and school children visited with cards thanking gardai for the service that they had provided to the community.

Other residents turned up to vent their frustrations by writing angry messages in a comment book that has been on display in the garda station for the past few months.

Some 35 gardai will be transferred from the station as part of the Government's decision to close 39 stations around the country – and there is a deep sense of resentment and loss among locals who lobbied hard in the run-up to the closure.

worried

The move will see services being transferred to Dundrum Garda Station.

Local man Paul Higgins visited the station with his two sons, Ted (6) and Jack (8), to say goodbye. "It's a very sad day for everyone. The area has been well policed in the past and the station's closure could open us up to all sorts of crimes," Mr Higgins said.

Local woman Emily Ruane (62), who lives on her own, said knowing that the gardai were close by always provided her with a "sense of security".

"The garda here have always been very efficient. This is a very sad thing that's happening. I'm worried now that people will take advantage of the fact that there will be no garda station here anymore. I live on my own and this has me very worried," Ms Ruane said.

Angela Redmond (48), who also lives in Stepaside, said members of her family have been victims of crime.

"Two of my elderly uncles have been attacked in their homes in Stepaside. They both had to have panic buttons installed. This is not a good move at all."

Owner of The Step Inn, John McCluskey, said he has recently had to step up security equipment at the pub in advance of the station's closure.

"Everybody is disappointed and disillusioned. I recently had to spend €12,000 upgrading the security system in the pub. Thankfully we've never been robbed, but there's the concern now that it will happen. People are sad and worried."

hnews@herald.ie


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