Former Justice Minister calls on Minister Ross to end ‘self-serving fake campaign’

by Rebecca Ryan
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Former Minister for Justice Alan Shatter believes that candidates are using Stepaside garda station for “self-serving fake political campaigns”

A former Minister for Justice has blasted local politicians for using Stepaside Garda Station for electoral gain.

Former Minister for Justice and Fine Gael TD for Dublin South, Alan Shatter told Dublin Gazette he believes that candidates are using the station for “self-serving fake political campaigns”.

“I think people in Stepaside were grievously misled at the last election by a variety of candidates who promised if they were elected, the garda station would be re-opened,” said Mr Shatter.

“The person at the head of that charge was Shane Ross TD. Promises to re-open it were also made by Mary White, who was then running for Fianna Fail, and also Josepha Madigan who was my own colleague.

“At the time I was Minister for Justice, and I explained that the decision to close Stepaside was not made by me as Minister, but by the Garda Commissioner for operational reasons. It was one of the 139 stations closed.

“I truthfully advised people that I could not promise that it would be reopened.

“I think good people were seriously misled by a fabricated narrative for electoral gain. Shane Ross was the lead fiction writer of fabricated narrative.”

Mr Shatter said that promises made to re-open the station were a “false promise” and “simply fake, self-serving news,” which he believes is still happening.

“I feel generally sorry for the people in Stepaside.  I think there is a fake campaign continuing. I’m aware that various people in Stepaside in recent days have received letters from [Shane] Ross promising that the station opening is imminent.

“I don’t think that people should be misled a second time. I don’t think that Shane Ross should get away going into another election promising that if he was re-elected the station would open.”

Last week marked the one-year anniversary since the Government approved the reopening of six garda stations, including Stepaside. In an email to Stepaside residents last week, Minister Ross said: “We believe the successful end of our campaign is now in sight.”

Minister Ross went on to say that he expects to be able to update the residents on a proposed opening date for the garda station “in the coming weeks”.

Following the email, Mr Shatter said: “I am calling on Shane Ross to end this self-serving fake campaign. I’m calling on current members of the Dail who represent the Dun Laoghire Rathdown area to fess up and deal honestly with the community in Stepaside, and not use this issue anymore for self-serving political gain.

“I think people deserve to be told the truth, they deserve not to be misled.

“I think frankly they’re entitled to an apology from Shane Ross and any other deputy who got elected to the Dail in the last election, who falsely promised that their election would automatically within weeks result in the station re-opening.

“No one, who promised the re-opening of the station, ever suggested that two and a half years later it would remain closed and because of the focus on bricks and water, the necessary focus on increasing community policing and patrolling in Stepaside has been lost.

“People should not be misled by fakery when the next election comes along.”

Dublin Gazette did not receive any comment back from Minister Shane Ross going to print.

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