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We won't give in -- Stepaside rallies for garda station

DEFIANT and determined, a Dublin community is refusing to give up its garda station.

More than 1,600 people – including children, priests and teachers – rallied around Stepaside Garda Station demanding it be spared from cuts.

They were told by campaigners that they were part of a "fight worth winning and a fight worth fighting".

The hundreds of people who gathered at the station's steps say they are prepared for a long and gruelling battle.

 

Death

The family of a heroic garda, who died while saving the lives of others, were among those at the demonstration.

Garda Ciaran Jones was just 25 when he was swept to his death during torrential weather in Blessington in October 2011. Garda Jones was helping a motorist, stranded in flood water close to Garda Jones' family home, when he was swept to his death.

He was one of 34 men to be stationed at Stepaside. His family say they are now part of the desperate fight to persuade Justice Minister Alan Shatter to spare the barracks.

"I'd love to see it saved," said his father, John Jones. "In the short time that Ciaran was here and when he did pass away the whole community came out and the amount of flowers and cards and everything else. It just goes to show how much that the community does really respect the police around here."

Residents formed a human chain around the station walls in a show of defiance.

Sandyford parish priest Andrew O'Sullivan, said people now would be "living in fear because the gardai were being taken out".

Mr Shatter has maintained that Stepaside's closure would not result in a reduction of gardai in the area.

"The 34 garda members currently stationed in Stepaside will be primarily based in Dundrum Garda Station with some also stationed in Blackrock station," he said.

noconnor@herald.ie


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