Thursday 17 August 2017

Ross toasts victory with boasting letter to voters on reversal of station closure

Transport Minister Shane Ross at the testing of the Luas Cross City, which will connect the Green and Red lines
Transport Minister Shane Ross at the testing of the Luas Cross City, which will connect the Green and Red lines
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Shane Ross has boasted about the controversial reopening of Stepaside garda station in letters sent to constituents.

The Independent Alliance minister's letter to residents in Dublin Rathdown began: "I am writing to let you know that Stepaside garda station will reopen!"

He explained how it was shut in 2013 and that Stepaside Business Association and local residents have joined with him and councillor Kevin Daly in fighting its closure.

"Together, we have held rallies, public meetings and protested in the rain, hail and snow in an effort to have this dreadful decision reversed.

"In June of this year, at our insistence, the Government agreed to reopen six Garda stations around the country.

"Following an independent review, it was today announced that Stepaside garda station is one of the stations that will be reopened.

"The review has validated our campaign against the closure of our station.

"We now look forward to the station reopening," he wrote, adding he will be "in touch with a more detailed analysis of the decision" and he thanks constituents "for all the hard work".

The issue was raised at the last Cabinet meeting chaired by former Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

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Garda Commissioner Nóirín O'Sullivan sent the Government an interim report on her review of which six stations will reopen, based on crime trends and population.

Though the review is to be finalised by the end of the week, ministers agreed "in principle" to reopen Stepaside garda station.

Other stations mentioned in the report - Rush, Co Dublin; Leighlinbridge, Co Carlow; and Donard, Co Wicklow - are likely to be recommended for reopening, while the two other stations have yet to be identified.

Later in the Dáil, Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin raised suspicion of a link between the nomination of Attorney General Máire Whelan to the Court of Appeal and the reopening of Stepaside garda station, which both happened at last Tuesday's Cabinet meeting.

Mr Ross has been pushing for reform of judicial appointments but allowed Ms Whelan's to go through, though a spokeswoman said on the day: "He did point out at Cabinet that he didn't like the process."

Mr Ross denied that there was any link between the two issues. He told the Dáil on Wednesday he only learned of Ms Whelan's appointment the previous day.

Irish Independent

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