Stroke politics denied as Stepaside station to be reopened

by Emma Nolan
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Minister Shane Ross is largely credited with securing the station’s reopening, but the local TD has come under fire for “parish pump politics” nationally as a result.

The 30-page report shows that six closed garda stations were committed to be reopened on a pilot basis.

In Dublin Stepaside was seen as the most suitable based on the criteria set out – such as population figures and crime statistics.

The report shows that while the population in Stepaside increased by up to 20%, the reported crime in the area “significantly” decreased in the first three months of this year compared to last year.

However, the population of Stepaside is set to increase and the report stated that the reopening of the station would facilitate such growth.

Former Justice Minister and local TD Alan Shatter has called the reopening of the station a “political fix”.

The Sunday Independent this week reported that Mr Shatter said: “I think a lot of people will see it as a political quick fix and something of a stroke.

“The gardai were put in an impossible position in the context of this report being demanded, based on the criteria with which they were furnished. There was only one recommendation that could have come from this.”

Chairperson of the Kilternan Glenamuck Residents Association and member of the Re-Open Stepaside Committee Aileen Eglington said that “enough is enough” and the voices of the residents affected by the station’s closure need to be heard amid the political discussions.
Ms Eglington told The Gazette: “We are sick of all of this talk.

“As residents of the greater areas affected by the wrong decision to close Stepaside Garda Station, we are increasingly concerned that in the middle of all this controversy, we have been forgotten.

“This issue is not about strokes or political footballs, this is about the fact that a growing area of Dublin, and a rural area of Dublin is affected by crime as a result of the closure of Stepaside, the vast reduction in gardai to serve a growing area, and a broken promise by the gardai to give us a smart policing model which works.

“This area stretching from Sandyford right up to the Dublin and Wicklow mountains, is rural as well as urban, and therein lies the problem – having a station based away from its citizens’ needs.”

Speaking on RTE’s Prime Time last week, Minister Ross said: “Was it stroke politics? First of all, the answer to that is absolutely no.

“The criteria was criminal activity in the area, rise in population and the feeling of locals.”
Ms Eglington added: “We need a station, and we need more gardai to patrol our rural areas here – Stepaside, Glencullen, Kilternan, etc.

“To say that crime levels have dropped is not true, regardless of these quoted figures. We all want our station back and our service levels back.

“Enough is enough. We are not a political football. We are a growing community here.”

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