Saturday 21 September 2019

Shane Ross’s new garda station: Closed during night and staff taken from other areas

Shane Ross and Mr Daly outside the former Stepaside garda station
Shane Ross and Mr Daly outside the former Stepaside garda station
Fionnan Sheahan

Fionnan Sheahan

Transport Minister Shane Ross’s much-hyped pet project Garda station won’t be open through the night.

And the reopened Stepaside station will take Gardai from other suburbs on the southside of Dublin, rather than getting additional new staff.

The reopening of the station was a key demand of Mr Ross when the Independent Alliance entered Government.

The Garda station is one of six being reopened under a pilot scheme.

The estimated cost of refurbishing and opening the station is €1.5m.

Mr Ross has denied the prioritisation of Stepaside in his Dublin Rathdown constituency was a case of "stroke politics".

Last year after three shops in the village were broken into during the night, the minister said: “And they wonder why we need a Garda station 24/7. The reopening cannot come soon enough.”

However, Garda management says the current plan is for the station to only be open from 7am to 9pm daily.

“It will not be a 24-hour station,” Garda management said in a letter to Independent Councillor Michael Fleming.

There will be three Sergeants, 24 Gardai and one staff member based at the station.

Read more here: Gardaí to get refurbished station in Stepaside next month

Gardai at the station will be “reallocated from within the DMR East Division”, the letter says.

The Garda Dublin Metropolitan Region East Division covers southside suburbs, including Dun Laoghaire, Blackrock, Cabinteely, Shankill, Dundrum, Leopardstown, Foxrock, Ballinteer and Mount Merrion.

Mr Fleming said he was “extremely concerned” at the development.

“This certainly was not what I had envisaged for the Stepaside Station. I wanted to see new Gardaí in our district and not existing resources being reallocated. I also had hoped that the Station would be open on a full time basis and not 7am - 9pm daily,” he said.

The decision to reopen Stepaside was taken by the Cabinet two years ago.

Mr Ross aside at the time: “The criteria was criminal activity in the area, rise in population and the feeling of locals.”

However, crime rates in Stepaside dropped significantly in the period leading up to the decision to reopen.

A review of 78 towns nationwide by Garda management singled out the station on the grounds of population growth.

In his most recent note to constituents on the station, Mr Ross said Stepaside has been “suffering without a local Garda Station for over six years”.

“Our priority was always to see a full Garda presence back in the heart of Stepaside village and further delays would not be acceptable,” he said.

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Also in this section