New Garda office for O’Connell Street is but a small step to reviving Dublin’s Main Street
- Serious question as to whether this means additional gardaí in the local area or reallocation of existing officers.
- Policing response must be accompanied by plans to tackle dereliction and lack of available medical injection facilities in the area.
Labour Dublin Central Senator Marie Sherlock said:
“The opening of a new Garda office is very welcome, but will only bring a real impact if it all the other important steps are taken to revive the street. Poor behaviour on the street cannot be divorced from the wider issues of dereliction, the sky high commercial rents which means so many tenancies are confined only to the bigger chains, the lack of safe injection centres in the city centre and a stretched An Garda Síochana.
“It’s not clear if the gardaí assigned to O’Connell Street come from the existing Store Street station resources, or represent additional Gardaí for the area.
“Furthermore, the limited opening hours from 8am-2pm daily is shortsighted and should be on a 24 hour basis. O’Connell Street is the main thoroughfare through our capital city, it demands a strong Garda presence. Tourists and locals alike need to feel safe and ensuring a strong Garda presence on the beat, not just at the station, will be crucial to the success of this.
“Garda figures are lower now than they were before the crash in this country. Communities throughout the country are creaking for Gardai, particularly in more isolated and rural areas, many of which are serviced by a satellite station in the town over, rather than having a local Garda presence.
“This drain out of the Gardai has happened under Fine Gael’s watch and they have no answers or solutions to address the recruitment and retention crisis.
“There’s been much talk and little action on the revitalisation of O’Connell Street. It must be regenerated in a way that respects its position as the premier street of the capital, with respect shown to its historical and cultural importance, not just commercial and business interests.
“Extortionate commercial rents are charged driving many local businesses out of the area only to be either replaced by the big retailers or become derelict over time. We need Government to have a plan for the Street that is underpinned with good jobs and the local community at the heart of it.
“Clery’s is due to open in 2-3months time and if done well, with decent employment opportunity for the communities around O’Connell Street, it will play an important role in its revival.
“The Government are lacking a vision for a vibrant, creative area, ensuring employment opportunities for those in the communities around the area. If we don’t get those other pieces right, this Garda Station will have been but a waste of resources.
“There’s a perception that O’Connell Street is not a safe space, so it’s vital that there’s a Garda presence on the street. It’s not just good enough to open a station.”