Monday 20 August 2018

Shatter brands garda decision over Stepaside a 'political fix'

Claims of 'stroke politics' as Ross under fire over Garda report on reopening of closed stations, writes Maeve Sheehan

BACK YARD: Minister Shane Ross denies ‘stroke politics’. Picture: Collins
BACK YARD: Minister Shane Ross denies ‘stroke politics’. Picture: Collins
Maeve Sheehan

Maeve Sheehan

Four years ago, when the Troika bore down on Ireland, garda numbers fell, recruitment of replacements was banned and garda stations closed down. Alan Shatter, who was then Minister for Justice, lost Stepaside Garda Station in his Dublin South constituency.

The decision was taken by the then Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan, who called the shots on operational matters. Even though Shatter had a lot of upset constituents, he swallowed the bad news, saying it would be wrong of him to second guess the judgement of the commissioner.

Cut to June 2017. Mr Shatter and Mr Callinan were gone. Shatter's long-standing constituency rival, Shane Ross, of the Independent Alliance, was now at the Cabinet table. Ross's promise to his constituents and his price for supporting the minority government was the reopening of Stepaside Garda Station. At Enda Kenny's final Cabinet meeting as Taoiseach, Mr Ross got what he wanted.

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