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Stepaside gardai will transfer to Dundrum

ALL of the 34 gardai in Stepaside will be transferred to Dundrum when the station is shut later this year

GARDA Commissioner Martin Callinan has indicated that the gardai will, "insofar as possible," remain in the Blackrock District and be assigned to Dundrum Garda Station.

The proposed closure, part of 100 Garda stations to be shut in 2013, has drawn criticism from local representatives, the business community and rank and file gardai.

A local petition campaign against the Stepaside closure has gathered 2,000 signatures.

However, Labour Junior Minister Alex White is the latest of three Government TDs in the Dublin South constituency to stand over the decision.

Mr White said it was only natural that people would have concerns but added: "I would be quite confident that these can be allayed through alternative policing arrangements being put in place. I will do all I can to help reassure local residents."

It is understood that discussions are ongoing about providing Garda patrols in Stepaside in future from the two nearest 24-hour stations, Dundrum and Blackrock.

A Garda press office spokesman told the Herald that "no date" has yet been set for the closure of the Stepaside station.

"The freeing up of gardai from desk duties in Stepaside Garda Station will increase the number available for frontline policing," the Minister told Shane Ross TD in the Dail.

Justice Minister Alan Shatter added: "The Commissioner has concluded, and I fully agree with him, that resources could be better deployed by closing some garda stations and reducing the public opening hours of others at off peak times.

"The objective is to ensure that the best possible policing service will continue to be provided in our communities."