The new Garda Station on Dublin’s O’Connell Street is a Government PR exercise that doesn’t make sense from a policing point of view, according to a Dublin Councillor.
The Justice Minister Helen McEntee last night told her Parliamentary Party that the new station would tackle anti-social behaviour and drug-dealing in the city centre.
She said the new station would open at 13A O’Connell Street in the coming months, with works on the building already underway.
Two specific Garda operations targeting public order, assaults, drug dealing and anti-social behaviour will be run from the new station.
The move comes four years after the old O’Connell St Garda Station was shut down and has been welcomed by local representatives and Dublin Lord Mayor Alison Gilliland.
On the The Pat Kenny Show this morning however, Cllr Mannix Flynn labelled it a “PR exercise.”
“The old Garda Station on O’Connell Street, while it was very welcome, really wasn’t that effective anyway,” he said. “What we need is not Garda station, what we need is actually gardaí on the street.
“I fear this is a PR exercise from the minister and indeed the Department of Justice and it doesn’t really make sense.
“You’ve got Store Street, you’ve got Fitzgibbon Street, you’ve got Pearse Street Garda Station and the Bridewell – which are less than a minute in the car from O’Connell Street.
“As I say, at the end of the day, what people want to see is gardaí on the streets – patrolling the streets.”
Cllr Flynn noted that a recent serious assault on Westmoreland Street happened “literally 30 seconds” from Pearse Street Garda station.
“Had there been a Garda on that street or a squad car on the street that would have made a major difference,” he said. “We certainly don’t need more Garda stations.”
He said the answer to violent crime is more gardaí on the beat – insisting the new station is “tantamount to a PR exercise”.
“What we need is members of An Garda Síochána on the street,” he said. “Deploy them on the street, lift the overtime ban and put the Public Order Unit on the street.”
'Prowling the streets'
It comes after Fianna Fáil TD Jim O'Callaghan told the Dáil that three high-profile assaults in Dublin city Centre in recent weeks highlight the need for more gardaí.
“Gangs of youths who believe they are immune to apprehension are prowling Dublin city at night-time looking for people to attack,” he said.
“They are misogynistic towards women, they are homophobic towards gay people and in particular, they are seeking to target men in their late teens, 20s or 30s, who are on their own or just with one other person.”
He warned that the lack of Gardaí on the streets will see Dublin getting an international reputation as an unsafe city – with tourism impacted as a result.