Government urged to explain Stepaside Garda Station decision

The government has been criticised for deciding to re-open Stepaside Garda Station

Government urged to explain Stepaside Garda Station decision

Protesters at Stepaside Garda Station 03-02-2013. Image: Sam Boal/RollingNews

The government has come under criticism for deciding to re-open Stepaside Garda Station ahead of others also recommended by gardaí.

Transport Minister Shane Ross has denied the move was 'stroke politics' just because the station is in his constituency.

Minister Ross has long campaigned for Stepaside to be re-opened.

Yesterday Acting Garda Commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin told the Oireachtas that the government set the criteria for which stations should be re-opened – and took the decision to re-open Stepaside.

The other stations noted in the report were Rush in County Dublin, Donard in County Wicklow and Leighlinbridge in County Carlow.

Work has already begun on re-opening the Stepaside station – the only one of the four to be progressed so far.

Keenly felt

Speaking today, Rush Community Council member Eamon Price said the community is extremely disappointed that the station remains closed.

He said gardaí in the area work hard - but the loss of the local station is still keenly felt.

“They react to crime but they are not preventing crime,” he said.

“We don’t see gardaí on the beat and it is very visible.

“You have drinking on the streets and crime numbers increasing in the town.”

Debbie Donnelly, manager of Rush Community Centre, said the closure five years ago still worries people in the community.

“People are insecure in their homes; their cars parked outside being vandalised.

“It is the same in the train station; a number of weeks in a row, a lot of cars were smashed and vandalised and there is nobody there to call or contact.

Community competition

They both said locals do not feel any anger towards the people of Stepaside just because they got their stations re-opened.

“Unfortunately sometimes that is the way it goes,” said Ms Donnelly.

“The one who shouts loudest gets heard."

Mr Price said the issue is not about the people of Stepaside or the people of Rush arguing with each other.”

“This is not about that,” he said. “The people of Rush are congratulating Stepaside – but the facts are very similar.”

“It is up to the gardaí to explain why Rush wasn’t up there with Stepaside.”

A full report on which six garda stations should be re-opened is due in the next few weeks.