IN WHAT locals are hailing as a victory, Stepaside Garda Station (right) looks set to reopen following an announcement by Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald.
The station closed down four years ago on Tuesday, and locals now say that they can “sleep easy” in the knowledge that its reopening look assured.
Speaking to The Gazette, local shopkeeper Des Kennedy said: “It’s generally rumoured that the station will be reopened and that’s good news for all of us.
“I think this will put locals at ease because in spite of the fact that statistics are saying that the crime rate in the area is reduced, there is a vast amount of crime in the area that is unreported.”
One of Minister Shane Ross’s main demands for entering government last year was that the station be reopened, and now Minister Fitzgerald has announced the report on Garda stations would be completed in May.
“This is an operational matter for An Garda Siochana,” the Minister for Justice said. “I expect to have a final report in May.”
Speaking to The Gazette after the announcement, Minister Ross said: “It is just a year since Antoinette Cunningham, vice-president of the Association of Garda Sergeants and Inspectors, said that since the station’s closure, ‘There has been a significant increase in crime in the area … We were against the closure of Stepaside in the first place, and we believe that’s one such example where it could be reopened’.”
Minister Ross said that he is now “very confident” that the report this May will conclude that Stepaside Garda Station must reopen.
He added: “This result will reflect the considerable effort and tireless campaigning by the people of the area to make their streets safe again.”
The news has gained criticism nationwide as Minister Ross has been accused of “parish-pump politics” and of just looking after his own constituency.
However, locals maintain that crime has risen in the area since the station’s closure, leaving the area vulnerable.
Des Kennedy said that it is not a case of parish-pump politics. He said: “Only for Shane Ross we would have never gotten the issue on the floor of the Dail – he has been immense help to us.
“All of our local political representatives here have been pushing for the reopening of the station.”
Deputy Catherine Martin (GP) told The Gazette that she would urge critics to “look at the evidence”.
She said: “Our community has been suffering since the closure of this station … I feel that the report will present the evidence that Stepaside Garda Station deserves to be reopened.”

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