An Independent councillor has called on the Minister for Justice to provide more gardai to North Dublin, five years after closing Whitehall and downgrading Santry stations.
Ballymun councillor Noeleen Reilly said that despite asking Minister Charlie Flanagan for additional gardai in the area a number of months ago, no improvement has been made.
“I am frustrated by what is going on at present, and it seems there are no answers. We are still at Garda numbers way below pre-recession times, and this is despite an increase in gun and drug crime in Dublin,” Cllr Reilly said.
Across the country, 95 Garda stations were closed as part of cost cutting measures. Whitehall Garda Station was closed completely, with Santry station downgraded as a cost cutting measure. Most of the crime in the locality now goes through Ballymun station.
Cllr Reilly, a native of Ballymun, says that locals in the area feel significantly less safe as a result of the lack of gardai present in the area.
“Parents are weary about letting their children out to play, and in general we are all more concerned about things happening in our community,” she said.
Labour councillor Andrew Montague said: “The residents of Ballymun are hard-working, trying to look after their families, and they are let down by a small number of offenders in the area. But the small numbers that are engaged in crime are terrorising their neighbours and making life dangerous for all, and they need to be stopped. The residents deserve protection, and should not be frightened in their own homes. We need a bigger Garda presence in the area,” Montague told Dublin Gazette.
However, local Fine Gael councillor Norma Sammon said she has “very much welcomed” increased numbers in the police force, supplementing the improvement of Dublin Northwest.
“Just like in the rest of the country, policing in northwest Dublin suffered as a result of the economic crash. However, the recruitment campaigns launched by the Minister have resulted in increased numbers in the force and I very much welcome this.
“Community policing in the northwest area is improving and has been at the forefront of introducing new initiatives, particularly in the area of domestic abuse,” Cllr Sammon said.
It was reported in 2016 that Santry Garda Station was considered for further downgrading, despite an increase in crime in the locality in the previous three years following the first downgrade.
In 2015, there were plans to move the Dublin City Mortuary to the former Whitehall Garda Station building, however there have seemingly been no further developments on what will happen to the former station.