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Report recommending reopening of Stepaside Garda Station published ahead of time

The Minister for Justice said he decided to publish the interim report “in the light of misleading public comment and baseless assertions”.

Image: Sam Boal via Rollingnews.ie

THE GARDA REPORT, which recommended the reopening of Stepaside Garda Station, has been published ahead of time this morning on the bases of public interest.

It comes as the Minister for Transport Shane Ross has defended the government decision to reopen Stepaside Garda Station, saying it wasn’t “stroke politics” even though the station is in his own constituency.

The Minister for Justice and Equality Charlie Flanagan said he decided to publish the interim report “in the light of misleading public comment and baseless assertions”.

The 30-page report shows that six closed garda stations were committed to be reopened on a pilot basis – one of which was recommended to be in Dublin County.

Gardaí had four stations to select from in Dublin and Stepaside was seen as the most suitable based on the criteria set out – such as population figures and crime statistics.

Taking all relevant matters into consideration, the Assistant Commissioner who has responsibility for the Dublin Metropolitan Region, is recommending that Stepaside be the station within the DMR that should be included among the stations considered for reopening in the course of the relevant pilot project.

It 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 report said the population in Stepaside was likely to continue to grow into the future and the reopening of the station would enhance public confidence in the area.

The report also cautioned against over reliance on crime figures and pointed to technology advances that could be considered.

Rush was named as the station to be opened second, as it had a population increase of 13%.

The report states: ”In deciding the six garda stations which are to be considered for recommending for inclusion in the pilot project the Commissioner of the Garda Síochána has been requested by government to ensure there is a mix of urban and rural and that at least one station be located in County Dublin.

It states that the review should take account of;

  • The changing environments in rural, developing urban and suburban areas,
  • The views of local commuinities
  • The allocation of garda resources and their deployment at the local policing level including the use of the Garda Reserve, garda facilities and garda equipment
  • Relevant recommendations made in previous inspectorate reports

139 garda stations were closed in 2012 (39) and 2013 (100)

The report states that population is also equally important to consider, not just where people live. It said garda stations should be based in business districts, holiday locations and third level institutions.

“While population growth in terms of where people reside is a relevant issue to consider when deciding where to locate police infrastructure and personnel, it is equally important to consider where people are located when it is not their place of residence.”

Publishing the report, the Minister for Justice said, “While in the normal course it would be appropriate and usual to wait for the final report before publication, in the light of misleading public comment and baseless assertions, which continue to be made, I have concluded that it would now be in the public interest to make this interim report available.

“I am of the view that the public interest is best served by the immediate publication of the report.”

Read: Shane Ross: Decision to reopen Stepaside Garda Station was not ‘stroke politics’>

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