Taoiseach vows to speed up garda station reopenings

by Emma Nolan

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny has agreed to intervene in the re-opening of Stepaside Garda Station as the community continues to live in “constant fear” of rising crime.
Mr Kenny told the Dail the reopening of the station would be “followed through” after an admission from Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald that no progress had been made on reopening six stations nationwide.
It was agreed as part of the Programme for Government last year that a pilot scheme to reopen six closed garda stations would be rolled out across the country.
This was to be completed within two months – but a full ten months have since passed.
Deputy Catherine Martin (GP) had raised this delay with the Taoiseach and emphasised the need to speed up the process of identifying the stations to be reopened as committed to in the programme.
Deputy Martin said that when she asked Minister for Justice Francis Fitzgerald for an update on the process, the Minister admitted that she has “not received a report on any aspect of this matter from the Garda authorities”.
The Green Party TD for Dundrum said that this admission was “unacceptable” and urged the Taoiseach to intervene.
She said: “Since the closure in our constituency of Stepaside Garda Station in 2012, the community lives in constant fear, with some residents having been the victims of burglary not just once or twice, but on three occasions.
“The community is living in hope that Stepaside Garda Station will be identified as one of the six [stations] to be reopened.”
Deputy Martin said she hoped the Taoiseach’s intervention will be the catalyst required to get this project over the line.
Speaking in the Dail, An Taoiseach said: “Minister [Shane] Ross and deputies Martin and [Josepha] Madigan [FG] have been very consistent and persistent about one garda station in the country, and this is Stepaside.
“As a result of you raising it here, I undertake to speak to the Minister for Justice to see what progress has been made in regard to the report from the Garda Commissioner.
“The Programme for Government is clear and it will be followed through.”
Deputy Martin added: “At this stage, it is understandable that the local community will judge people on their concrete actions and results not words alone.”

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