‘Burglaries have soared since the station closed’

by Emma Nolan

DES Kennedy’s Centra in Stepaside was robbed last Thursday night at knifepoint.
The incident occurred shortly before 10:30pm and the contents of two tills were stolen. While no one was harmed during the raid, the two staff members working at the time are said to be recovering but were “quite traumatised” by the incident.
Proprietor Des Kennedy spoke to The Gazette about the incident, which has shaken locals.
He said: “These two men – we presume them to be men – came in dressed in balaclavas, armed with knives, and held up the two male staff members who were on duty that night,” he said.
Kennedy said the armed robbers “insisted that the staff empty the registers”, to which they “had no choice” but to do so. “They seem to be getting through it now, but it was quite a shocking experience for them.”
Kennedy’s shop is located across the road from the closed Stepaside Garda Station, and he said that this unfortunate incident has proved how closing the station was a mistake.
He said: “We really are pushing for them [the Government] to reopen Stepaside Garda Station.
“It’s too large an area; we’ve vast commercial businesses in the area and surrounding area, and a vast rural population, plus we have a population of more than 20,000 peoplesurrounding the immediate village of Stepaside.”
Kennedy said that he will now have to review security measures at the shop. He added that gardai from Dundrum and Blackrock stations arrived at the shop within five minutes of the staff pressing the panic button.
Deputy Shane Ross (Ind) spoke to The Gazette about the incident. He said: “It was pretty shocking – right opposite the [closed] garda station.”
He arrived at the scene shortly afterwards and the staff present were “shell-shocked”.
“It’s an indication of the accelerated crime that we have in the area, right on the [closed] garda station’s doorstep. You look out the garda station window, and you can see Des Kennedy’s shop.
“Kennedy has been one of the most active people involved in campaigning for the reopening of the station. This is part of a very dramatic and deplorable series of robberies which have gone on in Stepaside recently.”
Deputy Ross has raised the issue of reopening garda stations in talks with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, and has raised specifically the urgency of the Stepaside issue. (See story on Page 4.)
He said: “There is recognition now from both FF and FG that the decision to close certain stations, including Stepaside, was a mistake.”

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