Wednesday 21 February 2018

'A political decision not based on proper analysis' - PAC Chairman doesn't think Stepaside garda station will reopen

Shane Ross and Cllr for Glencullen/Sandyford Kevin Daly at the reopening of Stepaside Garda station. Photos: Justin Farrelly
Shane Ross and Cllr for Glencullen/Sandyford Kevin Daly at the reopening of Stepaside Garda station. Photos: Justin Farrelly

Kathy Armstrong

The Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee said he doesn't think that Stepaside garda station will re-open and he feels that the resources could be better used elsewhere.

Transport Minister Shane Ross has campaigned to have the garda station - which is in his Dublin-Rathdown constituency - reopened and PAC Chairman Sean Fleming called the move "a political decision not based on proper analysis."

The PAC are set to publish a report today criticising the decision to reopen it.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast, Mr Fleming said: "We received evidence during our meetings last year that the a senior garda over the Dublin region said the reopening Stepaside wouldn't be a priority.

"Our report found that policing authorities outlined (Inner city, north inner-city, Ballyfermot and Ronanstown were among the areas he listed) should be the priority, that would have to be the key reason for reopening any garda station.

"That was not taken into account by the committee set up by the Department of Justice to examine this area.

PAC chairman Seán Fleming
PAC chairman Seán Fleming

"We believe in this day and age that the resources of gardai, the cost of reopening a station and the future population growth in an area and policing priorities in an area should be the key issues that are the determining factors.

"All you have to do is look at where we have more shootings, thankfully they're not in the Stepaside area but unfortunately that's happening in other parts of the city."

Read More: TDs attack reopening of garda station

Mr Fleming said that he does not think that Stepaside garda station will actually reopen as other areas will be more of a priority.

"I don't believe it will happen, the police have to go to the Office of Public Works first and get an estimate of the costs involved, they have to examine the suitability of the building and they also say that the growth of population in that area will be in the Cherrywood region so a new station will be a priority.

"My view is that no money has been spent reopening it today, we think that the Justice Committee should be examining when the 2018 estimates for spending come before the Oireachtas next month," he said.

While he called the Minister Ross' support of reopening Stepaside garda station a "political decision", he said that the PAC won't engage in a "ding dong" over it.

"When we recommend our position, the Public Accounts Committee won't get into a ding dong with a minister about his individual constituency.

"But the political implications of the PAC will be black and white today.

"It was a political decision not based on proper analysis, it wasn't taking into consideration the taxpayer and the policing priorities," Mr Fleming claimed.

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