Protesters plan human chain around garda station
HUNDREDS of campaigners are expected to form a human chain around a busy urban garda station in a bid to halt its closure.
Stepaside garda station in the growing 20,000-strong Dublin suburb has been earmarked as one of 100 garda stations due to shut their doors this year as part of a nationwide review of services.
People from the Stepaside area – which covers the villages of Stepaside, Glencullen and Sandyford and encompasses the Carrickmines and Leopardstown shopping centres and industrial estates – are expected to form a human chain around the garda station as part of a rally on Sunday, February 3.
Organisers hope hundreds will turn out on the streets after strong support for the first meeting of the Committee to Save Stepaside garda station.
More than 2,000 people have also added their signatures to a petition to halt the station's closure.
Labour councillor Lettie McCarthy believes if the 34 Stepaside gardai are moved into Dundrum garda station then they will be removed from the heart of community matters.
"I think we will be left vulnerable if the 34 gardai are moved from Stepaside to Dundrum. We fear they will be subsumed into the issues around Dundrum," she said.
"You are aware of the issues if you are based in an area as you are constantly meeting the local people in banks or shops."
Ms McCarthy stressed the area was a new growth area with many young families living in the Stepaside region.
Chief Superintendent Jeremiah O'Sullivan is expected to address an evening meeting on the planned closure tomorrow at the Sandyford community centre in Lamb's Cross.
Shaun Tracey, a Sinn Fein representative in Dublin South, said the rally would coincide with a human chain formed around the garda station.
"Stepaside garda station is not a rural garda station. It is a suburban garda station in a growing community with a population of approximately 18,000 to 20,000 people," he said. "If the station is closed it will be a devastating loss to the area."
It is understood discussions at garda level are centring around providing garda patrols in Stepaside from the two nearest 24-hour garda stations – Dundrum and Blackrock.