Third TD backs move to shut down busy garda station
LABOUR Junior Minister Alex White is standing over the decision to close a busy urban garda station in his constituency.
He is the last government TD to declare his position on Stepaside garda station, which is one of 100 garda stations nationwide due to close this year.
It means that Justice Minister Alan Shatter has now got the support of all three government TDs in the Dublin South constituency in the face of a local petition campaign against the station closure, which has gathered 2,000 signatures.
Mr White said it was only natural that people would have concerns when their local garda station was closing.
"But 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 on this," he said.
It is understood that discussions are currently ongoing about providing garda patrols in Stepaside in future from the two nearest 24-hour garda stations – Dundrum and Blackrock. There are currently 34 garda officers in Stepaside so specific comittments have to be made about how many will remain on the beat and in patrol cars in the district.
But local Labour councillor Lettie McCarthy said the community feared that they would not get to know gardai who were moving in and out of the area from other stations.
Similar concerns have been expressed in communities around the country which are also facing the prospect of their local garda station closing.
There are going to be 22 garda station closures in Galway and Mayo and Roscommon/Longford. Another 16 garda stations are closing in Cork and Kerry, with eight shutting in Clare and six in Limerick.
Mr Shatter has defended the closures by saying that the vast majority are part-time stations that are open for less than three hours a day and are served by one garda.
He has insisted that the closure of the stations will increase the number of gardai available for front-line policing.
A spokeswoman for Mr Shatter said that the closure of the 100 garda stations would proceed as planned. This was in order that gardai could be deployed more efficiently.
"After these closures, there will still be 564 Garda stations in the State.