Fitzgibbon Street Garda Station was officially reopened this morning by Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Garda Commissioner Drew Harris, Minister for Justice Helen McEntee, and Minister for Finance and local TD Paschal Donohoe.
Built in 1913, nine years before the An Garda Síochána was even founded, the building in Dublin’s North Inner City near Croke Park was eventually used as a Garda station until it fell “into a state that was unfit for its purpose,” according to Minister McEntee.
The station was closed in 2011, with reconstruction beginning just after 2018.
“It closed for many different reasons, not least of which was the quality of the building itself, but it was a dark day for the local community when this station closed,” said Minister Donohoe.
The project was completed in October 2021, featuring a bespoke Crime Victim Support Suite, the first of its kind in Ireland, allowing Gardaí to cater for the varied needs of victims in a compassionate and dignified way.
Around 90 officers are set to be stationed there, focusing on community and specialist policing.
There will also be a community hub which will be made available to local community groups to use regularly.
Victims of crimes will enter through a separate entrance, and be “treated with respect and empathy, maintaining their dignity,” said Supt Martin Mooney.
"Victims will know this station is geared towards their specific needs,” he said.
“There are no cells, prisoners are not brought here at all. Prisoners are brought to Mountjoy. Here we are focused on victims and the community,” he said.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin was “genuinely excited by the potential it offers to the local community and as a model for elsewhere.”
Being the first of its kind in Ireland, the Taoiseach says the Fitzgibbon Street Station will prove to be a successful manifestation of a “progressive attitude to modern policing.”
Minister Helen McEntee added that “residents will be proud of where they live and, above all, that they can feel safe.”
Alexandra, a waitress who lives near Mountjoy Square Park and who is originally from Romania, stood listening with her young son Darius to the speeches by the Taoiseach and ministers as they assured the safety of her neighbourhood.
“I had a problem before. Somebody was in front of my house, who I think was drunk, and they threw a bicycle through my window,” she said.
"But in a few seconds, many Gardaí came. I was so happy, and I was so proud of them, because they were so quick. I have a baby, and my husband and I were very scared in the moment. I feel very safe now and I am happy this has reopened.”
According to Minister Donohoe, the station “is an addition to the further investment now happening here locally”.
He added: “The Summerhill Primary Care Centre and the St Lawrence primary school, which will be opened in the next few weeks, is all about delivering local investment within the north-east inner city. This is but the latest part of the jigsaw in making this happen.”
As part of the North East Inner City (NEIC) Project and as recommended in the Mulvey Report published in February 2017, funding was granted for the full re-development of Fitzgibbon Street Garda Station.
Garda Commissioner Drew Harris said: “We all recognise that illegal drugs, those who supply them and the crime associated with them, have really destroyed the lives of so many of the communities that they come from.
“The local community here suffered more than most from the ravages of organised crime gangs.
“One of the things I really want to say is to assure you that your local gardaí here will work tirelessly, night and day, to detect and prevent crime and to protect you, your families and protect the safety of all of those that we serve.
“At a local level, national level, we are having an impact on targeting and disrupting organised crime groups, an area where we’ve seen considerable success.”