Garda stations report shows 'firm recommendation' to reopen Stepaside garda station

The publication of the interim report into the reopening of garda stations confirms a "firm recommendation" was made to re-open Stepaside Garda station.

The report (available here) looks at population based on census figures and property crime in the area.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan 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."

In the terms of reference given to the Gardaí by the Government, it was stated that one of the six stations to reopen should be in Dublin, where only four stations had been closed during the recession. Stepaisde was one of those four.

The opposition have criticized the recommendation to reopen Stepaside, alleging "stroke politics" and arguing that Enda Kenny prioritised the Stepaside station as a favour to Transport Minister Shane Ross before he left office.

A defiant Transport Minister Shane Ross has said the decision to reopen Stepaside Garda Station in his constituency was not “stroke politics”.

Defending the decision to reopen the station, he said this week: “I did what I said I would do. I used my clout to reopen Garda stations over the country. It was not stroke politics. The case to reopen Stepaside was compelling; that is why it happened.”

A total of 139 stations had been closed between 2011 and 2014 throughout the country, generating major protest in some affected areas. Mr Ross, while an opposition TD, advocated loudly to have Stepaside reopened.

The acting Garda commissioner Dónall Ó Cualáin also defended the reopening of Stepaside Garda Station, saying the “high-level criteria” used in selecting stations for reopening included a “rural, urban and Dublin” dimension.

He told the Public Accounts Committee that only four stations in the Dublin area came up for consideration and out of those, Stepaside was selected in an interim report completed last June. Under further questioning, he said Rush in North Co Dublin was also among the six proposed.

He denied that there had been any influence from the Government on the report.

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