Kelly calls for plans to reopen Stepaside Garda station to be shelved
Vice chair of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and Labour TD Alan Kelly, has said the decision to reopen Stepaside Garda Station in Dublin needs to be abandoned in light of the findings of the Committee on the issue
In its periodic report published today, the PAC recommended that the ultimate decision to re-open Garda stations should be based on the best use of Garda resources, state funds and policing priorities.
Deputy Kelly said:
“From careful examination of these issues by the PAC and listening to the evidence of Acting Commissioner Pat Leahy, it is quite clear that the reopening of Stepaside Garda station is not and was not an immediate priority for the Gardaí, nor is it considered to be as urgent as the need to reopen stations in areas like the north or south inner city.
“The decision to reopen Stepaside Garda station therefore can only be described as a political one that is not based on need or the best use of resources or taxpayers’ money, which is absolutely outrageous and wrong. The criteria that was set out by the Department of Justice was so defined that Stepaside had to be chosen. That shows that the process was completely political and wrong. What’s more, the Head of Human Resources John Barrett said that he had no role in the decision to look at reopening of Stepaside, which is extraordinary considering his role.
“As has been highlighted in today’s PAC report, I am concerned that actual overall policing concerns were not taken into account as part of the review into the reopening of Garda stations, including Stepaside, nor were the policing priorities of the Dublin Metropolitan Region as a whole, resource implications and whether it was value for rmoney. With the projected population growth of Cherrywood over the next decade or so, it is likely that a new station would be better placed there.
“We should be listening to the views of the Gardaí on where they believe the priority areas are, and Stepaside is clearly not considered urgent. There are also issues around the suitability of the existing station building and the PAC has recommended that the Office of Public Works carry out a review of this.
“In light of this, the Government now needs to look again at the decision to reopen Stepaside station, and base future decisions purely on policing priority needs and the best use of resources and state funds.”